How to get better credit card terms? Just ask

Who knew the Bible was referring to credit card companies when it said, “Ask and you shall receive”? 

Consumers who requested perks like higher credit limits or a lower interest rate were likely to have their petition granted, according to a new report from CreditCards.com. The study found that 87 percent of credit cardholders who asked for a late-fee waiver were successful, and 69 percent of those who requested a lower interest rate got one.

However, only slightly more than half of credit card holders dared ask issuers for special treatment regarding their fees, charges and interest rates, though 84 percent of those brave souls got their wish.

“People don’t ask because they don’t think they will be successful,” said Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com’s senior industry analyst. “People have far more power with their credit card company than they realize. Competition among card issuers is incredibly high these days, and customer retention is a priority.”

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The key to a positive reply lies with an individual’s credit history rather than a specific issuer, Schulz said. For example, 51 percent of Americans who asked to have their annual fees waived were successful, with those most likely to get the thumbs up between the ages of 53 and 62.

“The truth is that folks with good credit and a long positive track record always get better rewards from credit card companies,” Schulz said. “It stands to reason that the people in that age group have had a long time to build up a positive credit and more stability in their careers. It makes them a better bet.”

That’s not to say that those with a shorter credit history are out of luck.

In fact, 89 percent of those surveyed received a higher credit limit when they asked for it. Those between the ages of 27 and 36 were most likely to make that request as well as receive one. A higher credit limit was the most common inquiry among those surveyed, with 28 percent seeking access to more money.

Credit card companies were most stingy when it came to requests for lower interest rates, but even then they weren’t all that miserly. Nearly seven in ten people received a lower interest rate when requested.

“It makes sense [for banks to decline requests for lower interest rates] because they make less money,” Schulz said. “It is more risk.”

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One in four people sought a late-fee waiver, making it the second most sought-after concession. Nearly 90 percent of them no longer had to pay the charge

Meanwhile, 19 percent asked to have their interest rate reduced, while 11 percent wanted to see a reduction or elimination of their annual fee.

That’s not to say that those with a shorter credit history are out of luck.

In fact, 89 percent of those surveyed received a higher credit limit when they asked for it. Those between the ages of 27 and 36 were most likely to make that request as well as receive one. A higher credit limit was the most common inquiry among those surveyed, with 28 percent seeking access to more money.

Credit card companies were most stingy when it came to requests for lower interest rates, but even then they tended to grant customers’ wishes. Nearly seven in ten people received a lower interest rate when requested.

“It makes sense [for banks to decline requests for lower interest rates] because they make less money,” Schulz said. “It is more risk.”

One in four people sought a late-fee waiver, making it the second most sought-after concession. Nearly 90 percent of them no longer had to pay the charge Meanwhile, 19 percent asked to have their interest rate reduced, while 11 percent wanted to see a reduction or elimination of their annual fee.