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How to negotiate with your credit card company

A simple phone call could result in a lower interest rate or payoff balance. Here's how you make it happen.  Getty Images

When it comes to credit cards, the vast majority of adult Americans have at least one card account in their name. If you carry a balance from month to month on these accounts, though, the cost of borrowing could get very expensive. That's because, as unsecured revolving debts, credit cards typically come with high interest rates

But did you know you may be able to negotiate with your credit card company? Negotiations may result in lower interest rates, better payoff terms or even a lower principal balance. So, how do you negotiate with your credit card company?  

Find out how quickly debt relief experts can get you out of debt now

How to negotiate with your credit card company

There are different ways to negotiate with your credit card company. The route you should take depends on the outcome you're hoping to achieve as a result of the negotiation. Here are a few options to consider: 

How to negotiate lower rates when you're in good standing

If you've been a cardholder for a while and have always paid your bills on time, but want to lower the interest rate on your account, follow these steps: 

  1. Look into balance transfer options: Start by shopping for balance transfer credit cards but also take note of the cards with the best standard interest rates. Promotional interest rates are enticing, but they won't last forever — and the regular interest rate will be what matters during negotiations. 
  2. Call your credit card company: Use the phone number on the back of your credit card to contact customer service. 
  3. Be clear about what you want: When the representative asks how they can help you, say something along the lines of, "I've received several balance transfer offers with lower long-term interest rates. I like working with your company but don't want to pay more than I have to. Can you offer a lower rate?"

From this point on, try to go with the flow. The customer service representative will likely check to see if a lower rate is available. If one is, your call is successful. If not, you may want to consider taking advantage of one of the balance transfer offers instead.    

Find out how much money you could save with a debt relief service today

How to negotiate lower rates based on a financial hardship

If you're experiencing a financial hardship and need help getting out of debt, you may be able to get help by asking your lender for it. Follow these steps to request assistance: 

  1. Call your credit card company: Use the phone number on the back of your credit card to contact a customer service representative. 
  2. Ask for assistance: When the representative asks what they can help you with, say something along the lines of, "I was wondering if you offer a financial hardship program. I want to make my payments on time but I'm having a hard time doing so. Is there anything you can do to help?"

In most cases, the customer care representative will transfer you to a financial hardship department where a new representative will assess your current financial position. Be honest as you answer the questions. Keep in mind that the representative is there to help. 

In the end, you may qualify for a financial hardship program that results in a lower interest rate, a fixed payment plan or both, helping you get some relief from your debt.  

How to negotiate your credit card balance

In some cases, even a financial hardship program may not be enough to achieve debt relief. In these cases, it might be possible to negotiate your way to a lower principal balance. Here are the steps: 

  1. Stop paying your lenders: Send each of your lenders a letter letting them know you are saving for a settlement and then stop paying them. 
  2. Save money: Put a set amount of money into savings each month for your settlement. Make sure you save a reasonable amount of money each month. 
  3. Start the settlement process: Once you've saved 55% of what you owe on your credit card with the lowest balance, contact the credit card company. If they've sold the debt, contact the company that currently owns the debt. Explain to the customer service representative that you have saved money and want to pay the debt off. Moreover, you're hoping to come to a settlement. Offer to settle your debt for about 40% of what you owe. This leaves some wiggle room for negotiations. 
  4. Negotiate: Chances are that the creditor will not accept your first offer, but will make a counter offer. If the counteroffer is within your 55% goal, take it. If not, continue to negotiate until you settle. 
  5. Repeat: Repeat this process with all of your creditors, making sure to start negotiations as soon as you've saved enough to pay off the settlement. 

Keep in mind that creditors don't have to accept your settlement offer and that this process can harm your credit score. However, if successful, you can save a substantial amount of time and money on your debts.      

Debt relief experts can help

The do-it-yourself approach isn't always the best approach to take when it comes to managing debts. The good news is that there are plenty of debt relief options available. Some of the most popular options include debt consolidation loans, debt management programs and debt settlement programs

Let the pros handle the negotiations for you and tap into the debt relief you deserve

The bottom line

Credit card debt typically comes with high interest rates and negotiations are often an effective way to reduce those rates. However, if you're having a hard time making ends meet, it may be time to reach out to a debt relief service for a potentially faster route to debt relief. 

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