Troubleshooter: Lower your interest rate

November 10, 2008 12:05:34 AM PST
How would you like to cut the current interest rate that you're paying on your credit card in half? And what if it was as simple as reading a simple script during a 5 minute phone call? Credit card debt adds up, especially when you tack on the high interest rate you're paying each month.

We hit the streets, armed with a script; it's a script that could just be the secret to lowering your interest rate. We asked random people in Chapel Hill along Franklin Street if they'd help us out.

Amanda Traud was skeptical but agreed to call her credit card company. She called the 1-800 number and followed the script. She said, "I'm a good customer, but I've received several offers in the mail from other companies with lower annual percentage rates. I really want a lower rate on my card. Can you help me?" The rep said no. Amanda adds, "My current interest rate is 14.49% and they told me they couldn't get it any lower than that." Amanda kept trying. Amanda added, "May I talk to your supervisor then?" Once on with a supervisor, Amanda followed the same script and this time they found a way to cut her current interest rate of 14.49% in half to 7.99%.

A UNC professor heard my pitch and invited us into his marketing class to see if we could help one of his students. Senior Stephen Norris agreed to make the call. He told to the rep on the other line of his credit card company, "I'm a pretty good customer, and I'm starting to get other offers in the mail." He followed the script and literally within a minute another successful phone call. Stephen says, "I got my interest rate from 18% to 10.4%. Thank you very much."

It adds up, for example, if you have $10,000 worth of debt, lowering it 8% percentage points saves you $800.00 a year, just by making a phone call.

One of Troubleshooter Diane Wilson's co-workers here at the station, Michelle Clark, wanted to see if it would work for her. She called the 1-800-number on the back of her card and followed the same script. She said, "I've been receiving information in the mail from credit card companies with lower interest rates and I was wondering before I canceled my account with you if I could get a lower interest rate." Within seconds Michelle's phone call is successful. She tells Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, "He immediately lowered it to 9.49% from 22.49%." That's cutting her interest rate by more than 60% just by making a phone call and following this simple script.

We had six others try the script, and four of them were successful, two were told "no" that their current interest rate was the best they could get, but were told to call back and try again. The key to making this work for you is to make sure you make at least the minimum payment each month. Also if you've been late or missed a payment in the last six months it may be tough to get the credit card company to work with you.

Try the script below; if you have success let me know about it.

    "Hi, my name is (your name here). I'm a good customer, but I've received several offers in the mail from other companies with lower annual percentage rates. I really want a lower rate on my card. Can you help me?"

If the answer is no, ask to speak to a supervisor. If the answer is still no, ask for another supervisor.

Also don't be shy about letting the company know you would consider closing the account unless they can lower your rate.


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