If you are paying a high credit card interest rate, achieving debt freedom is almost impossible. With interest rates as high as 19.99 percent for purchases and 24.99 percent on cash advances, it’s hard to get out of credit card debt.
But, with the right steps, you can reduce your debt by securing lower credit card interest rates. It requires a phone call to your credit card issuer, but first, take these important
1. Fix your Credit
You need bargaining tools when you call your credit card company. They aren’t going to lower your interest rate just because you asked. You have to provide reasons and that number one reason should be your good credit.
Pull your credit history and see what needs fixing before you call. Check for on-time payments (no late payments), underutilized credit lines, and no public records (collections, bankruptcies, etc.).
Do what you can to fix your credit at least a few months before you call.
2. Lower your Debt Ratio
Another bargaining tool is your debt-to-income ratio. The lower it is (the fewer debts you have), the more likely credit card companies are to answer your request.
Calculate your DTI yourself (total debts/total income) and keep the numbers handy. Tell your credit card company how you have improved your credit, lowered your DTI, and are trying to reduce debt, which a lower APR would help.
3. Choose the Right Timing
Don’t call the credit card company before you fix your credit or lower your DTI. Make sure you have fixed all aspects of your financial life and can maintain it. Credit card companies want proof of sustainability.
If you recently received a bonus or paid off a large debt, show how you responsibly use those funds or savings to further illustrate your financial responsibility. You are trying to paint a big picture here, not just a spontaneous instance.
4. Comparison Shop
Comparison shopping prepares you, should your current credit card company say ‘no,’ but it also gives you leverage.
Don’t be afraid to share the other offers you received or APRs you know you can get based on your qualifications. Show your credit card company that you did the legwork and aren’t afraid to transfer your balance elsewhere to achieve debt
5. Call your Credit Card Company
Once you’ve done your homework, it’s time to call. Be as polite as possible and ask about the possibilities available to you. Don’t make your phone call threatening. Just state the facts, provide the proof, and listen for an answer.
If they say ‘no’ ask what you can do to turn it into a ‘yes.’ Sometimes it’s a simple fix that once completed, gets you the lower APR you desire.
The Final Steps to Reduce Debt
If you received a ‘yes,’ congratulate yourself on your job well done and enjoy the lower APR. If it was a ‘no’ despite your repeated efforts, consider it a new opportunity. Use the information you found when looking for other offers and see which company will provide the lower rates you desire and transfer your balance to them in your quest to achieve debt freedom.
Our credit counsellors at EmpireOne Credit can help. We offer a free consultation to help you find the best way to deal with your debt and can help you repair your credit. Contact us today.