You can still get a later payment date, but a lower APR will be a little more difficult

One common tactic for saving money on your credit cards is to flip them over. By calling the number on the back, you can usually ask for some money-saving breaks. Those range from waiving a fee to even lowering your interest rate.

Sadly, your odds of success have gotten a bit smaller. While a new study by LendingTree says “70 percent of requests for lower credit card APRs are still granted,” that’s down from 80 percent and even higher during the height of the pandemic.

A 70 percent chance sounds pretty good, but LendingTree says it’s the lowest in four years. If you’re not in that unlucky 30 percent, you can expect a significant saving: “The average reduction rate was 6.9 percentage points.”

You might have even better luck asking for other breaks. For example, of those who asked…

  • 90 percent got an annual fee waived or reduced
  • 84 percent got a higher credit limit (at an average of $1,200 more)
  • 82 percent got a late payment waived (at an average savings of $26)

Even with that high rate of success, LendingTree found a shocking result: Only 15 percent of cardholders asked for a lower interest rate in the past year. If that includes you, it might be time to look at the back of your credit card.

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How much you can save

Let’s say you’re carrying $6,270 in balances (which is the national average). Let’s say your interest rate is 16.26 percent (also the national average). If you call your credit card company and get the average reduction of 6.9 percent, you’d save $587 in monthly interest.

Making the call

Before you call your bank, be prepared to make your case. You’ll want to prove to your bank that you have good credit and have made your payments on time.

You’ll want to know:

  • Your current APR, balance, and credit score
  • When your last late payment was
  • How long you’ve had the card

You can also look at other credit cards with lower APRs. If they give you an offer, you can use that as leverage – your bank might be willing to match their competitor’s rates.

Annual fees can be harder to negotiate than APRs. Instead of waiving it, your bank may offer to reduce the fee or give you better perks and rewards instead. Before you call, look into what your bank may offer so you can make a more informed decision.

If it’s your first time missing a payment, chances are high that your bank will waive the fee. First-time offenders get some leniency. If you’re usually good with making payments, you might even be able to get your fee waived a couple more times. The best thing to do, however, is to set up autopay. This way you’re more likely to make your payments on time. Your creditor is much less likely to help you if you make a habit of paying late.

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About the Author

Gillian Manning

Gillian Manning

Gillian Manning is an AFC® Accredited Financial Counselor, by the AFCPE. She graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 2021 with her bachelor’s degree in journalism. At FAU she served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, the University Press. During her time there, the paper saw an increase in content production, readership, and engagement. Gillian writes for various outlets like the Palm Beach Post, South Florida Gay News, and the Boca Raton Tribune.

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