Pick up the phone when you need to ask your credit card issuer for these four favors.
Chances are your credit card company has no shortage of ways to find answers to your account questions on its website. You may find customer support services ranging from FAQs, video tutorials and how-to articles to a chat box with automated answers or even a real person.
When you have questions about your credit card account, it’s also easy to send a message via your credit card company’s website and wait for a reply. In some instances, however, the easiest route isn’t the best way to get the answers you need.
Sometimes you just need to pick up the phone and call a representative so you can make your case with back-and-forth conversation and receive instant answers to any questions.
Here are four reasons to call instead of sending a message or chatting with a credit card issuer.
1. You want to ask for a credit limit increase
You can benefit in a couple of ways when your credit card issuer raises your credit limit. A higher credit limit may improve your credit score by lowering your credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of revolving debt to your available credit. A higher credit limit may also allow you to make a large purchase with your credit card (hopefully, one that you can pay off quickly).
Sometimes a credit card issuer will raise your credit limit on its own if you’ve consistently paid on time. However, if you want a credit limit increase, you’ll often have to ask for one. If that’s the case, don’t send a message or communicate via chat, even if the chat box is connected to a real person. It’s just too easy for someone to say no when they’re not actually talking with you.
Instead, call the credit issuer and make your case to a representative. Make sure you prepare before the call by explaining why you need the credit limit increase, letting the agent know if your income has increased or your credit has improved since you opened the card.
Find out: 7 Questions to Ask Before Requesting a Credit Limit Increase
2. You’d like a lower interest rate
If you’re hoping to get a lower interest rate on your credit card, take time to pick up the phone and talk to a representative. If your credit has improved since opening the card, let the agent know. If the current interest rate makes it difficult to pay your monthly bill or pay the card off, explain to the agent how a lower interest rate would help you pay off the debt and pay on time.
Find out: Debt.com’s Ultimate Credit Card Hacks Guide
3. You want a late fee waived
When you have a lot going on, especially during stressful periods, it’s easy to forget to pay by the payment due date on your credit card statement. When that happens, you’ll typically get slammed with a late fee of anywhere from $26 to $40, money that you could use for groceries, gas and other expenses.
If the credit card has an introductory 0 percent APR, making the call is even more important, since paying late often cancels out the card’s introductory interest rate and switches to a much higher interest rate. If you have a history of paying on time, call the credit card issuer and explain that you accidentally overlooked the payment and paid late.
Ask the representative if they can waive the late fee just this once and keep any introductory APR in place despite the late payment. Often, the credit card company will waive the late fee if paying late is out of character for the account holder.
Find out: Higher Credit Limits Could Mean Higher Credit Card Debt
4. You need to switch to another card
If you’ve had your credit card for a while, you may want to switch or upgrade to a different product with a better rewards program, lower interest rate or other benefits from the same credit card company. You can likely upgrade by applying online, but there are advantages to calling the credit card issuer to make the switch.
A representative can explain the card’s benefits and your options, answering any questions that come to mind on the spot. Once the agent knows what you’re looking for in a credit card, they may even recommend a card that’s more suited to your needs.
Find out: 10 Ways You Think You’re Helping Your Credit But Are Actually Hurting It
Published by Debt.com, LLC