Recently, a Bank of America customer opened her credit card statement only to find that her APR had increased from 12.99% to 29.99%. The customer was so upset that she turned to the Internet and posted a 5 minute video attacking Bank of America and the entire credit card industry. In the scathing video, the woman states that she “could get a better loan from a loan shark.” As a customer with a 14 year history with Bank Of America, she was unable to find anyone willing to negotiate the rate with her.
The video became an internet sensation and has been viewed more than 350,000 times in the last three weeks and led to a senior official with Bank of America calling the woman who posted the video and resetting the rate to 12.99%. It was a happy ending for her, but millions of cardholders with various issuers have seen their rates jump and are hitting a brick wall trying to negotiate them lower again. Here are some things you can do besides posting a video blasting the credit card industry in order to negotiate with your credit card company.
– Gather The Facts: You can strengthen your negotiating position by having offers in hand from other credit card companies. If you can show your card issuer that other companies would allow you to pay back the debt at half the rate of interest, you’re more likely to find the company willing to work with you. These don’t have to be no interest credit card offers, just offers that are substantially better than the rate you’re being given. Showing that you have other options makes you a stronger negotiator.
– Make The Calls: The only way you’re going to be able to arrange for a lower balance is to get a decision maker on the phone from the card company. The first person you talk to usually will not have the authority to lower interest rates and is trained to answer your questions without escalating the call to a supervisor. However, if you’re serious about negotiating a lower rate, ask for a supervisor from the start. This way, the person you’re trying to convince has the power to make a decision if you plead your case effectively. Be firm in what you’re asking for, but also flexible enough to show that you’re willing to work toward a reasonable solution
– Transfer The Balance: If you take the above two steps and you still find yourself unable to get your card issuer to decrease your interest rate, your best bet is probably to apply for another card and initiate a balance transfer. Trying to pay off debt tagged with a 30% interest rate is an incredibly tough battle–getting out of credit card debt is difficult enough with a reasonable interest rate! Make sure that the company you transfer your balance to offers a similar credit line and will clearly state in writing their policies about raising customer interest rates.