First of all, isn’t it funny that when conjuring the telephone, we think of the above? That proves there’s nothing iconic about a cell phone.
And hello one person who wants to find out how to call your credit card company to renegotiate your interest rate!
Before we begin: have a good credit rating. This will give you the best bargaining power. If you don’t know your credit rating, this safe site will provide you with one free FICO score and credit report every 12 months — but beware: checking your FICO score too often can actually lower your FICO score because FICO can be like that.
Conventional wisdom says your FICO score goal is 760 or above, where conventional wisdom equals Suze Orman on Oprah. If your FICO score is currently low, hold off on calling the bank to renegotiate your rates until you can elevate your credit rating. And Bossy is going to give you a list of ways to improve your FICO score, so stay tuned.
The next thing to consider: time. This interest rate negotiation may take a while if your call is bounced around. Maybe a half an hour? It will be worth it.
And finally before placing your phone call, research your goal. Maybe you have one credit card with a low rate and you want to ask the credit card company in question to match it. Or you can open all of that junk mail in your recycling pile to see what those credit card companies are offering so you can ask your company to match that. But it’s good to have an interest rate in mind.
And just for kicks, know what the current Prime Lending Rate is before you speak with anyone. The Prime Rate is the benchmark the banks use in setting their own interest rates, and the Prime Rate can be Googled. For instance, currently the Prime Rate is 4.00 — where currently equals sister mercy it’s the afternoon and Bossy is still in her pajamas.
OK, with all of that out of the way, who’s ready to make the call?
The first thing you want to do is dial the credit card’s Customer Service number, which is located on the back of your credit card, and tell them you’ve been a customer for (blank) amount of time and ask for a lower rate. They may tell you there is nothing they can do. They may explain your only option is to opt out of the card, which means they provide a lower rate for the period of the card’s loan as long as you don’t accrue new charges.
But perhaps you decide neither option is acceptable because you want to continue charging on your credit card at a lower interest rate. So this is where you ask to speak with the Manager, and when you say that, try to sound like Bossy’s Grandma Charlotte who was always five seconds from sending her Eggplant Parmesan back to the restaurant’s kitchen.
Occasionally the person on the phone will tell you they are the manager, and repeat there’s nothing they can do. Or they will provide a direct phone number for a manager who will tell you there’s nothing they can do.
Then try using the word supervisor instead of manager.
It is suggested to practice “controlled rage” during these conversations — never curse but always remind them there is in fact something they can do, describe your excellent customer standing, and threaten to take your business elsewhere. Go for firm but polite.
Be prepared that all of this talk may situate you on the fast track to Nowheresville. This is where your perseverance is key, where your perseverance equals thank gah we’re not talking about Bossy’s perseverance because she would be sucking her thumb already.
Because the next step is to hang up and call the credit card company’s corporate office. That’s right, Bossy said their corporate office. Bossy thought this sounded too hard, but she easily found a bunch of phone numbers by Googling specific names. Here is a site that lists the contact numbers for a list of credit card companies, such as Capital One, Chase, Bank of America, Advanta, etc.
When you get the corporate office on the line, ask for the company’s president. Bossy isn’t even kidding; and when you ask for the president, do it by name — which is something that is easily determined by another Google search, and about that? How sorry are Customer Service agents that there ever was a Google?
Anyway. The point is: they’re never going to connect you with the president of the company. And if they do please tell that president you know a certain blogger who could really use a high-paying job promoting their stunning customer service.
Instead, they will most likely ask who is calling and why, which is when you’re going to firmly convey how disappointed you are in their customer service because you are trying to secure a lower interest rate and have not been adequately helped and blah blah firm but sweet blah.
The number you are really trying to reach this whole time is the company’s Escalated Customer Service. This department title changes depending on the company, but you get the point. The deal is: you will know when you’ve reached someone with decision-making capacity because they will probably take your information and tell you they need to look into it and call you back. This person needs to be armed with all of your facts, including your devoted history with the company and your credit rating. Be nice!
And good luck. If you have been through this process yourself or have any tips to share, please leave a comment below. Remember: Bossy isn’t a professional, she just plays one on the Web.