Asking Your Credit Card Issuers for Help
Credit cards can be a helpful tool but they can also cause you a lot of hardship. From high interest rates to potential credit score penalties, there’s a reason why many Americans fear credit cards and, more importantly, the companies behind them. That’s why you may be surprised to learn how far a well-intentioned inquiry can get you with some card issuers.
As the Motley Fool recently pointed out, there are a few instances where credit card companies may be willing to work with you. A general disclaimer here: there’s never a 100% chance that they’ll entertain your requests, but here are a few things worth asking for nonetheless.
Credit limit increase
When you open a new credit card there’s a good chance you start off with a relatively small limit. The problem with low limits is that, even if you’re staying well below maxing out, your credit score could get dinged because of your utilization ratio. For example, if your limit was $5,000, having a balance of $1,500 would put you above the recommended 30% utilization threshold.
While your limit might grow over time as you prove yourself to your creditor, there is another potential way to go about getting an increase: ask. As long as you’re not looking for a huge bump and it’s been a while since you’ve opened your account or last requested an increase, it’s highly likely that you’ll get your wish.
Waived fees and reduced interest
Have you ever just completely forgotten about your credit card bill until the day after it was due? Or perhaps your card issuer only processes payments on business days and your due date is a weekend? Regardless of the reason, paying your minimum even a day late could result in a late fee unless you find a way to beg for forgiveness. In some cases — especially if it’s your first infraction and/or you’ve been a longtime customer — credit card companies may be willing to waive your late fee.
Similarly it might be worth requesting that your card issuer reduce your interest rate. While it might seem far-fetched that a card company would lower your rate just because you asked, a report by CreditCards.com found that issuers actually did so nearly seven out of every 10 times. It just goes to show you it can’t hurt to ask!
Changed due date
No matter how well you budget and save your money, having all of your bills due at the same time of the month can still be a major pain. Thankfully there may be a way to fix that too. By calling and talking to your credit card company, there’s a chance they’ll be able to move your billing date, making your financial calendar a little more manageable. Furthermore you may want to repeat this process with a couple of your other bills and arrange your payment schedule to your liking.
Believe it or not, your credit card issuers can actually be pretty flexible. In fact, in some cases, all you need to do is ask and they may be willing to help. Although there’s no guarantee that even the nicest of requests will be filled, there’s no harm in inquiring about a credit limit increase, waived fees, reduced interest, or changed due date. Good luck!