So you’ve got a few credit cards, and you’re quite happy with them overall. Still, wouldn’t it be nice to save a little money on interest? It all adds up over time, and more quickly than you’d think. If you’re a good customer, you’d be surprised how easy it is to get a better rate.
Pay on Time, But Not Everything
The most desirable customers for the credit card companies are the ones who make a payment on time every month – but don’t pay off the whole balance. After all, running no balance every month means that you pay no interest, and the company makes no profit. If you keep up the pattern of running a relatively small balance each month, then the companies will start falling over themselves to offer you better interest rates.
Threaten to Go to Their Competitors
Have you ever noticed that it seems like every company offers a credit card? That makes the credit card industry extremely competitive. Collect ads and offers for better rates than your company has given you, and then phone them up and tell them all about it. A good rouse is to start the conversation like this:
“Company: Hello, what can I do for you today? Your Response: Oh hi, I was just calling to ask if there’s anything that you need to do to transfer my balance to this new card I’m getting? Company: Well… may I ask what card that is? Your Response: Oh, I got the offer in the mail this morning. [Tell them all about the great interest rate and everything. You could even make things up – they won’t know]. Company: And you’ve accepted that offer? Your Response: I’m just about to, yes. Company: Well, hang on… we might be able to offer you a better rate on the card you’ve got…”
The trick is in getting the company to think you’re just another fool who responds blindly to advertising, and they’re in danger of losing you as a customer. Don’t whine about how you’re such a good customer – they already know what kind of customer you are, but they definitely want you to stay their customer.
A fun alternative is to phone your current company, get an offer from them, and then phone around more and try to get them to beat it. Once it’s beaten, call your company back and let them know.
Drive a hard bargain, and be prepared to walk away (well, hang up). If you turn down their so-called ‘best offer’, hang up and wait half an hour, there’s a good chance that you’ll get a call offering you a better one!
It isn’t just on credit card companies that these tricks get results. It works because it costs a company so much to get a new customer (the ‘cost of acquisition’), and so it’s cheaper for them to offer you a better deal, just to keep you. Try it with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) sometime.