How to Fight a Credit Card Interest Rate Change

The following is a guest post by Mirsad Hasic, the editor of Think Credit Cards, a consumer oriented site about credit card debt relief.

Often, the interest rates a particular credit card offers is the make or break component whether or not you can dig yourself out of debt. When your credit card balance never goes down, reversing a difficult debt situation becomes downright impossible.

Then again, you do not even need to be completely weighted down with debt in order to deal with the issue of high interest rates. Such rates are never worth putting up with regardless of your current financial situation. So, when you are dealing with a credit card offering high interest rates, you need to take steps to correct the situation.

Often, people will sign on with credit cards that provide very fair interest rates. The problem is that the rates will change as time progresses. In some cases, a zero interest or very low interest introductory rate will be offered to entice people into the fold. Once the introductory rate expires, the interest rate will spike upwards. This can also occur when you miss a payment or are late with a payment.

So, you find yourself in a scenario where your interest rates have gone upwards. What can you do? Well, you could pay the inflated interest rates and see the credit card company walk away with your hard earned money. Or, you can take a few effective steps to get your credit card company to lower your interest rates.

Order a Copy of Your Current Credit Rating

When you have a good credit rating, it is a lot easier to find a credit card with a solid and inexpensive credit rate. If the credit card company has raised your interest rate for reasons outside your current good credit rating, then you should inform the credit card company that you wish a lower rate. If your rate is not lowered, you can always explore the options of transferring the debt to a card with lower rates. But, what happens when your credit rating is already a poor one? Are there any options available to you? Honestly, there are always options available.

Not Using the Card

The first step is always to call the credit card company and ask about receiving a lower interest rate. Those that are turned down or given a hard time about lowering the interest rate can then take the step of not using the card anymore. You could inform the credit card company and that you will no longer be charging any items with the card. This could stimulate account managers to lower the rate. The fear here will be that once your balance reaches zero, you will no longer use the card. As such, cutting the interest rate on your card can act as a self-preservation tool for their business.

Keep in mind if you receive a notice of an increased interest rate, you have to be prepared to stop using the card when you wish to avoid paying higher interest rates. If the interest rate increase goes into effect and you use the card, you have legally agreed to the interest rate. Now, that does not mean you will not be able to have the rate lowered at some point in the future. But, it can prove to be a lot harder once you have committed yourself to the new rate increase - whether you meant to agree with it or not. Be wary of these results as they can often make or break your ability to get the better out of any rate decrease negotiations.

Making Contact

Rarely will you see a major decrease in your interest rate if you call the 1-800 customer service number on the back of your credit card. The reason is that the person answering the call is usually not authorized to lower interest rates. That means you might be required to speak with a manager on the phone. In some instances, a discussion over the situation with a manager could lead to the lowering of the interest rates in an expedient manner.

You may also wish to write a letter to an account manager informing the individual of your lack of appreciation about the credit interest rates. You could ask for a lowering of the rate and inform the manager of your lack of desire to use the card any further. Issuing a formal letter shows you are serious and could move the proverbial ball into your court.

Do Not Undermine Your Own Cause

It is equally important to understand the steps you should not take as well as those you should take. At the core of this is to NEVER act unprofessionally. Yelling, being belligerent, using foul language, and - worst of all - taking a threatening tone will not solve the problem. On the contrary, such an attitude will make things far worse. It could even get you into legal trouble. The credit card companies don't mind working with someone who is rational. Irrational or over the top behavior usual will harm your cause. As such, this type of immature behavior needs to be avoided at all costs!

Be a Little Patient

You may not get a reversal of a high interest rate overnight. That is to be expected. So, have a little patience regarding the lowering of the interest rate. But, do not allow yourself to be strung along. If you come across a balance transfer offer that is more acceptable, you may wish to take it. Again, the goal here is to get rid of those high interest rates as effectively as possible. Patience is worthwhile in some instances but it also has its limits.

Related Reading:

Ten Free Online Personal Finance Courses

Facing Our Financial Problems

What We Buy Used Vs New

1 comment:

  1. You did a good post on how to fight a credit card interest rate change.


Agree? Disagree? Questions? Leave a comment!