Credit Cards

From time-to-time, we hear of ways to lower your credit card’s APR. “Just pick up the phone and call your bank,” they say. If you’ve tried to do lower your cards APR, you may find that it’s not that easy. You do have to do the work to get your annual percentage rate lowered. The upside: you can get your rate lowered. The downside: It may not happen for a few months.

1. Maintain an excellent payment history. Make sure your payments are on time. On time payments, in my opinion, reflect positively on your ability to get your APR lowered. When talking to the customer service representative, stress the fact that you have not been late with your payments for X amount of time. Also, stress how long you’ve been with the company. Talk up your sense of customer loyalty.

2. Do your research. If you APR is too high and you want to take your business somewhere else, be sure you’ve done your research. When you’re on the phone with the representative, have the most attractive offers in front of you so you can cite the reasons why you’re thinking of a balance transfer.

3. Be polite. This one can not be overstated: Be polite, be polite, be polite. These men and women work hard at their jobs for hours on end. Clearly they’ll respond more positively to someone who treats them with respect than they will with someone who is demanding and rude. (Plus, you have to figure that they deal with angry and irate customers all day long.)

4. Keep climbing up the ladder. Remember, these men and women are trained professionals. Be courteous and calm when they deny your request the first time (because they will). Ask for the supervisor. Often times, they’re the only ones able to approve such questions.

5. Be persistent. Sometimes you’ll be denied and there’s nothing you can do about it. It frustrates me when this happens as I often think of myself as the customer service king. But even for those of you who don’t take “no” for an answer, sometimes there’s nothing else you can do. Work on getting your finances under control and make the call a few weeks or a few months down the road.

The financial gurus paint a rosy picture about lowering your APR. It’s not as easy as it looks. Often times, people hang up feeling more frustrated and helpless than they did when they made the call. Be mindful of the process and the work involved.