by Charlotte Wood
(last updated February 21, 2009)
While some may think that your control over your credit card rate extends only to your credit score then you're wrong. When talking on the phone with the credit card company you can use your captivating charisma and charm yourself into a lower interest rate. While this negotiation may not necessarily depend entirely on your personality charm, if you have negotiating charisma and tact then you can slide into a lower credit card rate.
Bargaining is a skill that comes naturally to some and needs to be learned by others. How exactly do you bargain, especially with an institution like a credit card company? Go into your negotiation with good credit; if your credit history is not so stellar, you probably don't have a good chance at finagling your way to a lower rate. Fix your credit and then charm the credit card company. You don't want to come off offensive or threatening when dealing with these companies. As in any customer service oriented establishment, nice goes a long way. As a bank teller for a couple of years, I was always more willing and inclined to really help those who were kind and courteous, even if what they wanted was out of my way or hard to figure out. Those, on the other hand, who were snippy and rude I didn't make an effort to help and I inwardly rolled my eyes at their requests. Be nice! You can say straightforward things without putting them off.
Go for the lowest fixed rate. Fixed rates are the best because they don't change. A credit card company can always agree to a really low rate and then jack it up later. Bummer for you—hone your negotiation skills next time. Fixed rates are the way to go with negotiation.
It also never hurts to make your own offer. When doing this, shoot lower than what you actually want. If you ask for a lower credit card rate than you're actually interested in then the credit card companies will negotiate their way up to what you were actually looking for. It's called collective bargaining and if you use it right it's your friend.
If, however, your credit card company fails to accept your seductive negotiating charm then either find somewhere else to go or forget the credit card all together. Not having a credit card isn't a sin; not having one can increase your financial security and is a step toward greater financial freedom. Negotiating a lower credit card rate is a skill and a risk; don't go in to the negotiation with a cocky attitude, as there is a chance it won't work. If you can find the right company, though, that easily responds to your winning phone personality and negotiating charm then you have the golden ticket!
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