I was surprised to get a number of media calls about a story the CBC did last week. They went to a Winnipeg mall, randomly picked 10 people, and asked them to call their credit card company to get a lower rate, which six out of ten did accomplish.
Can we lower our obscene credit card rates that the no-service mega banks charge us? In the words of Barrack Obama: Yes we can! Let’s face it, credit card rates run 19% plus when prime is around 5%? Give me a break. Besides, full rates are like sticker price on a car – and who pays sticker?
In 2006, North America wide, credit card companies mailed out over 6 billion junk mailers but their response rate is less than a third of one percent. It’s not only very hard to get new clients, it’s also very expensive. So good business practices say keep the customers you have loyal to you and that’s all this amounts to.
You don’t really need a script, you just need to know you can do it and call the toll free number on the back of your credit card. You should have one of the junk mail offers in front of you. Best if it’s one from Capital One or MBNA offering a fixed rate card at 9.9 or 10.9%. Don’t use one of the teaser rates they use to suck you in for 1.9% or so. That’s only temporary – you’re looking for a fixed rate that doesn’t end next week!
Simply tell customer service you have this offer and would like them to match it because you’re a loyal and good customer. The rate on the offer in the mail is way better and you’re considering switching to save money. If they don’t cooperate, ask to speak to a supervisor.
You’ll likely get it if you have a credit score over 720, have dealt there for a while and have a good payment track record. You’re exactly the kind of client they want to attract and keep!
You’ll likely strike out if you’re at your credit limit, have been in arrears and are only making minimum payments. Card issuers aren’t dumb. They know most of those customers are lucky to have a credit card, and switching is more of a threat than reality.
But remember: If you don’t carry a credit card balance each month – who cares what the rate is and THAT is the situation we should all be in. It’s the start of financial freedom!