A recent report by CreditsCards.com says it's easy to get out of credit card fees if you simply ask. We spoke with Matt Schultz from CreditCards.com, who shared tips on renegotiating your credit card terms.
1. Trade Down from Annual Fee to Fee-Free
First up – trade down from an annual fee card to a fee-free card. "The cards with the best perks – if you're talking about travel miles and points – generally come with an annual fee,” says Mike. A fee anywhere from $50 to $500 dollars! And if that doesn't match your lifestyle anymore, ask if there’s a similar card that doesn't have a fee. "If you have a card from a specific airline with an annual fee, there's a good chance there's also a version of that card that doesn't have an annual fee,” adds Mike. You'll probably lose some perks, but that's up to five hundred dollars you can put toward your balance!
2. Leverage Other Credit Card Offers
Next up – leverage other credit card offers. "Take these offers that you find on CreditCards.com, or maybe that you find in your snail mail, and use them to frame the negotiations,” Mike advises. “You can tell them, ‘I love your card, but it has a 20% APR, and I've just been offered one at 17%. Can you work with me to match that?’ There’s a really good chance they will,” shares Mike.
And use balance transfer offers as leverage, too. Matt says your issuer could reward you by giving you a short time where don’t pay any interest, or they’ll reduce the interest rate overall.
3. Pick Up the Phone
Finally – don't be afraid to pick up the phone. “It's an awful lot easier to tell somebody no in an email, or in a chat, than it is when you're talking to them,” reveals Mike. So reach out and touch someone. “If you're brave enough, and confident enough, and prepared enough to ask for these sorts of breaks, you can save yourself some real money,” insists Mike. So pick up that phone and dial!
4. How to Increase Your Credit Score
Looking to improve your credit score? FICO has a few tips! First, start by checking your credit report. You can do so for free, and you’ll want to ensure there are no errors or discrepancies affecting your credit. Second – set up payment reminders! Making payments on time is a huge factor when assessing your credit score, so making late payments will impact it negatively. Third, reduce the amount you owe. That means stop using credit cards, and make a repayment plan that attacks your highest interest cards first. To read FICO’s full article on three important things you can do to repair your score, click here.
Credit card companies don’t want to lose you as a customer – and now you know three ways to renegotiate your terms.