How does interest rate negotiation benefit me?

High APR is one of the reasons credit card debt can be so challenging to eliminate. With most credit cards roughly 2/3 of every payment goes to paying off interest charges accrued during each billing cycle. This is particularly true with rewards credit cards that traditionally have higher rates.

By negotiating lower rates with one or more of your creditors, more of each payment you make can go to eliminating the actual debt you owe (the principal). This accelerates how fast you can eliminate your debt, so it’s easier to reach zero.

How does rate negotiation work?

Interest rate negotiation is most effective with accounts that are in good standing. If you’ve been a loyal customer for several years that has never missed a payment, then the account is a good candidate for a rate reduction.

  1. First, make sure your credit score is maximized. You may benefit from using a credit monitoring service to do this.
  2. Call the creditor to speak with a customer service representative and tell them you’d like to request interest rate reduction.
  3. You may be passed up to a supervisor in order to make this kind of adjustment.
  4. Put forth your case for the rate reduction.
  5. If the first attempt fails, be persistent! Call back in a few days to speak to a different rep.

3 tips for effective interest rate negotiation

Know where you stand & how you stack up

Have data-driven facts on-hand when you make your case:

  • Number of years you’ve been a customer
  • Number of years without a late payment
  • Know your credit score and where that puts you on the credit spectrum
  • Know average current credit card APR in the U.S.

Ask for a rate reduction action plan

If you are rejected for a reduction, ask the representative or supervisor if there are steps you can take that would get you the reduction you want. If they want you to improve your credit score or reduce your debt first, take those steps and then call back to request the reduction again. Make sure to note the date and name of the person you spoke with.

And remember, credit card companies need your business! The better your relationship with a creditor, the more likely you are to use their cards. Know the value of your business and don’t act like they’re doing you favor by giving you the rate you deserve.

Consider enlisting negotiation on your behalf

If creditors are not willing to negotiate lower rates with you, then consider using credit counseling service. If you qualify for a debt management program, the credit counseling agency negotiates lower interest rates with your creditors on your behalf. Data shows counseling agencies typically negotiate rate reductions to less than 11 percent. In some cases, creditors may even agree to suspend interest rates entirely while you’re working to complete the program.