It's Time To Call The Credit Card Company When…

No Credit Needed reminds us that we can call the credit card company and ask them to do nice things for us, like:

If you have a high interest rate, you can ask them to charge you a lower rate…
If you have been charged a late fee, you can ask them to waive it…
If you are over your limit, you can ask them to increase it…
If you want to consolidate balances, you can ask them to waive balance transfer fees…

The credit card company is your VENDOR. You are their CLIENT. Let them know that you’re thinking of switching to a different credit card company, remain firm and polite, and start making your credit card work for you, instead of the other way around. If you’re the mousy type, the suggestions in “How To Mind Control Customer Service Reps” can help you bolster your courage.

Time To Call The Credit Card Company [No Credit Needed]
(Photo: Getty)


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  1. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    Hmm, wouldn’t it be more cost-effective to lose the cheap-ass customer who follows this advice and replace them with high-rolling dumb customers who always fall into debt?

  2. vividblurry says:

    I’ve always had good experiences when calling credit card reps. When I missed a payment on my Chase Visa, I called the rep and asked if they could waive the fee, given my payment history. I even gave a little story as to why my payment was late. She gladly waived the fee. Also, I asked if the late payment would be reported to the credit bureaus. She said no, which gave me additional peace of mind!

  3. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    This is slightly off topic but, has anyone ever sat down and hand calculated their rewards from their credit card?

    I have the Chase Freedom Visa that give 3% for fast food, grocery and gas purchases and 1% for everything else. Last month, they didn’t give me enough for the 3% so I called and the rep agreed and changed it and they are going to contact me again about this. I can’t seem to get my numbers to calculate to what their reward numbers are.

  4. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    @vividblurry: What kind of interest rate are you paying on that and do you pay off your bill each month?

  5. Parting says:

    @Aussie-Evil: If you carry a balance, a credit card will prefer to lower your interest rate, than lose you as a customer.

  6. @public enemy #1: Did you count tax in? Do they count tax in? You wuold really have a disparity if they didn’t factor in gas taxes. With what the local government adds on, it’s like 10% or more.

  7. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: Hmm, that’s an interesting thought. I’ll have to bring that up when they call me back.

  8. kaushalmodi says:

    I am finding it quite strange that not-paying-off-the-credit-card each month is quite a common trend here.

  9. gingerCE says:

    @public enemy #1: I have noticed the rewards usually is under what it should be. Some don’t try to hide it. Amer Ex contacted me regarding my rewards total and said they were recalculating my rewards owed (they increased the total for the year). For my Citi card I was supposed to get 5% gas and grocery stores and 1% everything else. I finally noticed that a grocery store I use (independent local store) was being listed as a restaurant and not a grocery store–I’m not sure to be considered a grocery store must it be a certain size etc . . . Anyway I feel they shorted me the 5% and gave me 1% so I stopped using the card.

  10. Rando says:

    Just an FYI

    Don’t bother calling for interest rate decreases on store cards. It’s not possible, and you can threaten to close your account all you want.

  11. gingerCE says:

    When I was late a couple times on a MBNA card, neither time would they waive the late fee — in both cases I mailed it but they claim to received it late.

    I cut up the card and stopped using it. I think they were unwilling to help me because, as I’ve learned here, I am a “deadbeat” who pays the credit card bills in full.

  12. UpsetPanda says:

    @gingerCE: See, I get that credit cards don’t make more money off those of us who pay their cards off in full each month, but doesn’t it just go against logic to hate on customers who are responsible to pay off their bill each month?

    Then again…logic and credit card companies doesn’t go hand in hand, I guess.

  13. sir_eccles says:

    Yeah sure, you can ask.

    They’ll still say no they aren’t going to increase your limit so you can pay for the airfare to your sisters wedding so you end up paying with a different card which doesn’t give you double miles.

    No, I’m not bitter at all :-)

  14. holymogwai says:

    Good luck on the whole “I’m thinking of transferring companies if you dont do X”. They can pull your credit, see that you dont have a good enough score to transfer, and hang up on your sorry ass.

  15. SOhp101 says:

    @public enemy #1: Yes, I have, especially since it’s not very difficult when you pay off your balances every month. I’ve caught a mistake only once and it turned out they weren’t supposed to give me a bonus % for Target purchases since they did not fall into the ‘everyday spending’ category. Bummer.

    Most companies calculate their points based on the total transaction amount, rounded to the nearest dollar @ end of statement. Don’t include any cc fees/interest. If your bonus points depend on what category you’re spending, remember that it’s at the bank’s discretion to choose what store belongs in what category.

  16. suburbancowboy says:

    I was 2 hours late paying a citibank Master card bill. I was given a 39 dollar late fee for 2 measly hours. I called, and politely asked if they could waive it, and they politely waived it.

  17. dgcaste says:

    @Aussie-Evil: It’s more expensive to sign a new customer than to keep an old one. Also, there’s nothing stopping them from having the “mind controlling” type on a lower interest rate than the high-rolling money-dumb customer.

  18. dgcaste says:

    @holymogwai: What are you, 18? Do you have a concept of reality?

  19. Kaix says:

    This doesn’t work with WaMu cards (at least not the one I have). I’ve tried quite a few times to get a credit line increase and a lower interest rate and they won’t budge. Their supervisors don’t care either. Only reason I still have the card is because it’s my oldest one and international transactions have a 1% fee.

  20. I haven’t done any recent fact-checking on this, but I was under the impression that Credit Card companies aren’t required, by law, to act upon any of your requests unless they receive a written request/complaint in the mail. Of course, unless your credit card company is a complete ass, I’m sure calling works just fine too. Even so, I’ve always sent a letter regarding any disputes or fee waiver requests, and I’ve always gotten quick compliance.

  21. KarmaChameleon says:

    @public enemy #1: I used to work for Chase Card Services as a CSR. The fine print that a lot of people don’t know about the Freedom card is that the reward percentages are capped per month. You only earn 3% up to a certain amount, after which you earn the base 1%. The spending cap used to be $300 but I believe it went up to $600, I don’t remember off-hand because it’s been a while. As an example: say you spend $1000 in a given month, $800 of which is in your top three (groceries, gas, and utilities). You’ll earn 3% on 600, and 1% on the rest of it.

    It sounds shitty, but if you do a lot of spending in a year, you’re still doing better than the other Chase rewards programs, which have caps on the points you can earn. There is no such cap on Freedom earnings.

    I got a LOT of confused calls about that as a rep. Also, for programs where certain categories earn you points, be aware of where you’re shopping. With Chase programs and many other companies, Costco and Sam’s don’t qualify for the grocery category. What a lot of people DON’T know is that gas stations attached to places like Costco and Wal-Mart generally don’t count either–even though it’s classified as a gas station, it’s owned and operated by the warehouse/discount store and therefore doesn’t qualify.

    Bottom line: rewards programs are tricky, read the fine print and call your CC company for clarification.

  22. KarmaChameleon says:

    This is generally good advice, except for the point about raising your limit when you’re overlimit. Chase doesn’t allow this and neither do most companies–at Chase, our system didn’t even allow us to access the workflow for credit line increases on accounts that were overlimit. I always advised customers that the best thing to do is pay it enough to get it down under the limit and then call in and request an overlimit block on the account.

    Also, on the issue of balance transfers: good luck trying to get anyone to waive fees on that. There is exactly one time that most folks will do it, and that’s due to bank error. Trying to negotiate for better terms on balance transfers in general these days is a fool’s errand, due to pretty much every CC company aggressively cracking down on “gamers” (customers who hop from 0% card to 0% card, taking advantage of those intro rates to transfer balances and then dumping the account when the intro rate expires). Banks are losing a lot of money from people using their brains like that and they are a lot less willing to offer those sweet deals now.

  23. vividblurry says:

    @public enemy #1: I honestly don’t know the interest rate because I pay my balance in full each month.

  24. miguelggarcia says:

    This was a great reminder to call my banks, I just got my credit increased for one of my cards!

  25. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    Your right. After reading that chase confessions post on here I realized that it is true.

    I called BofA who I have my visa through. They wouldn’t lower my rate and said that the computer showed one rate as always being my rate, even though just 2 years prior I had a lower rate on my statement. They refused to forward it and were more than happy to cancel it right there no questions asked.

    I’ve had the card 6 years, its the only major credit card I have. I have 3 store credit cards (Macy’s, Best Buy and Target) which I only used to build up my credit and now only use when they have % of deals or 0% interest deals (Macy’s and Best Buy respectively). All cards are promptly paid off in full each month. They make no money off my credit usage, so I’m basically a throw away customer to them.

  26. EncephelanetRepairHelperGuy says:

    @holymogwai: I hear the new American Express Plum Card is going to be Identity Theft-proof

  27. arungupta says:

    I have had mixed experiences with credit cards. On one occasion, I did call Amex because my payment was late. I had mailed it in time but it reached late because of holiday traffic. They waived off the late fees.

    A very interesting case happened with HP card. I bought a PC with 6 months no interest. I divided the total amount into 6 payments and setup payments via automatic bill payment through my bank. Due to rounding, my final payment was 1c (yes, one cent) less than their calculated payment. In the next billing cycle, they charged full accrued interest. I called them and they waived off the interest charges.

    On another occasion, Amex refused to take back a Iomega network attached disk. Some features on the disk did not work as advertised. Amex has purchase protection and return protection but they refused to take the disk back under either of the plans. I have stopped using Amex since last month. I am waiting for their call asking me why I don’t use the card anymore.

    Among store cards, the worst is Circuit City. I have to go through at least 5 minutes of voice menus before I can even get to a point where they present an option to speak to a live representative. Then it is a 10 minutes wait to get to a person.

    One thing I find completely unacceptable and anti-consumer is that if I have both promotional purchases with no interest/no payment and normal purchases, the payment gets applied to lowest interest first. It means that I will have to pay full promotional purchase amount before any payment gets applied to normal purchases or pay exorbitant interest rate like 18.99% or 22.99% on normal purchases.

  28. Mr. Gunn says:

    socalrob: The Chase “Confessions” article was about as good as the Rental car one, IOW, full of misinformation.

    If you’re charging money to your card, no matter if you pay it off immediately or not, you’re still making money for them through transaction fees. That’s why you get rewards on your spending, not on your carried balance.

    I can’t believe I have to post this in every thread about CCs, several times per week. Here’s the financial myths thread at Fatwallet.

  29. @public enemy #1: I’ve had late fees waived in the past and I’ve only ever carried a balance once (the month I got married — I spaced on the bill, it came like three days before the wedding).

    Not a clue what the interest rate is b/c I’ve never had to pay it. And they waived when I spaced on the payment for my wedding. :) (First National Bank Omaha, had the card for 10 years now, very happy with their customer service the tiny handful of times I’ve had problems!)

  30. Cary says:

    I stupidly paid my Shitibank bill to Chase (one line off on my bill-pay screen) and caught it the day the bill was due. I used their “suck” feature instead of my bank’s “blow” so it would get recorded that day; it wasn’t… they didn’t suck for 2 days. Over $75 in fees.

    I called since I hadn’t had a late payment in over 10 years. They told me to go screw myself. I was polite. I was throwing things against the wall in my office, but I was polite on the phone.

    Then I remembered why I moved my business checking account (high 5-figure average balance in a non-interest bearing account) from Shitibank to another bank 2 years ago… pretty much the same attitude.

    Don’t know if any other bank would be better but the Shitigroup obviously doesn’t want my business.

  31. forgottenpassword says:

    This is all good…. unless you are a “non-profit” or ,to use an industry term for someone who pays his bill off every month,… a “deadbeat”.

  32. Jamie Beckland says:

    @Kaix: Look at Capitol One for international transactions – they have no transaction fee at all. Just got one to use on an upcoming international trip.

  33. aikoto says:

    I did this a few days ago. We forgot that we used the card and racked up a few months worth of late fees. I managed to convince them to reverse most of it ($80 worth).

  34. goldfixe says:

    I currently work for a large bank in their credit card division and i manage and train 2 special teams here. A lot of the information here is pretty accurate. Every company is different so don’t expect to call Chase and CapOne and get the same treatment. It also depends a lot on the person you speak with. Customer Service is generally not who you want to talk to: ask for the Retention Department. Most, if not all, large banks have them and they have a lot more freedom as far as fee waivers and rate reductions. Here’s how a few things work at my bank:

    -Late fees: if you haven’t been late before, you’ll almost always get the fee waived if you call in withing a week of being late. If you have been late more than once within the past 6 months, you’re probably going to eat that fee.
    -Be nice to us and we’ll be nice to you. All fee waivers are COURTESY. We don’t have to give you anything. Please be courteous and don’t burn any bridges before the conversation even starts. We realize you’re upset but if you take it out on us, you have a worse chance of getting that fee back.
    -“Deadbeats”: If you pay in full each month, the industry tacks this label on you. Honestly, it’s not that bad. Banks receive money called “interchange” when you use your card. The more you spend, the more the banks make, regardless of finance charges. If you spend more than $1500 per month, banks will try to keep you even if you pay in full. If it’s just an AOL charge or cell phone each month, it’s not worth it to the bank to reduce the rate.
    -Minimun payments: the worst thing you can do is spend a lot and only make minimum payments. We see what you buy and what you pay. If you keep spending and only pay the minimum, you turn into a risk and are not likely going to get anything.
    -Paydown mode: if you have a large balance or are close to your limit and stop using the card and are only making payments, you are in paydown mode. While you are taking steps to reduce debt, you are not using the banks card and that’s bad for us. We want you to make a lot of purchases but also like to see larger payments. If you are doing neither, your rate reduction (if any) won’t be very much.
    Balance Transfer Fees: We never waive these. Period.

    -Always pay more than the minimum. even if it’s $5 more, it show up positively on your payment history. the more the better.
    -Show respect to the assocaite and you’ll get it in return. Plus, you’re a lot more likely to get what you want.
    -Threats don’t work. Unless you have tens of thousands of dollars with us or spend thousands a month on your card, your threat will get you no where.
    -We don’t care what you saw on Oprah. We saw it too and most of that information was completely innaccurate.
    -Fiancial Advisors give you NO ADVANTAGE of getting a lower rate. You will ge the same rate reduction with or without them. They are a waste of your money. We are more than happy to explain anything you don’t understand about your card. DO NOT USE THEM! We don’t even negotioate rates with them on the line.

    I hope this helps a lot of you and answers some of your questions. Again, different companies have different business rules and procedures so don’t flip out when every bank gives you a different answer.

    Let me know if you have any other questions that I can answer. Leave a message for me on my profile.

  35. olegonzo says:

    And they can say “no” to all of those things.

    And if you’ve had the card for a long time, they know replacing it with a new card will adversely affect your credit score.

    And if you cancel your card, it adversely affects your credit score.

    And if you don’t use the card (or use it enough or don’t use it in a way where the company gets fees from or interest you) the company can unilaterally cancel your card, adversely affecting your credit score.

    Until legislators actually pass real consumer protection (for example, not giving the CC company so much power as to hold your FICO score hostage), then when you agree to using CCs you must also realize there ALL YOU CAN DO is ask, and they have the right to tell you, politely, to go F**k yourself.