How to Negotiate for Better Benefits with Your Credit Card Provider

Posted on December 07, 2012 by

Not happy with your credit card? You're probably not the first. But don’t just froth at the mouth in rage—do something productive, like negotiate for better benefits. Here a few suggestions on how to deal with your credit card provider to get what you want.

Tip #1: Tell them about other offers

Sure, you can always call your credit card provider and ask for a lower interest rate or better rewards, but you’ll have to rely on the kindness of their hearts. This however isn’t very likely if you don’t have any leverage. Give them an impetus to provide what you want by telling them about offers from other credit card providers.

This means you’ll have to collect several offers before calling your credit card provider. The gathering part should be easy since you probably get unsolicited offers in the mail every so often. Once you find one that’s actually better than your current card, call your provider and ask what you want. The company would surely be more receptive if you have a bargaining chip.

Tip #2: Offer something in return

Since this is a negotiation, you can’t just call and demand for something with no strings attached. If you want your credit card to agree to what you’re asking, you also need to offer something in return. For instance, if you pay only your minimum every month, you can offer to pay more. So if you’re asking for lower interest, you can say a rate reduction would allow you to pay more than the minimum.

Tip #3: Keep trying

You should expect resistance when you try to negotiate for what you want. Because of this, you should keep trying because one of your attempts would eventually be successful. The first representative might impede you outright; the next may staunchly offer an excuse. The company may have a policy in place one week that could be different the following week.

The trick here is to call again and again. Success may not come in the same afternoon or week, but the constant flux may finally be fruitful sometime in the future. Take note, however, that this works both ways: you may get what you want today, but this could eventually change.

Tip #4: Ask for a supervisor

If your discussion seem to be going nowhere with the representative and it’s already frustrating you, then perhaps it’s time to speak with a supervisor, who should have the authority to negotiate specifics like interest rates. Just remember to not raise your voice; it’s not going to help you get what you want.

Tip #5: Close your account

Experts say the best way to strengthen your position in negotiations is to have the ability to walk away from it. In this context, "walking away" is closing your account and getting another credit card, which shows your provider that you’re dead serious about what you’re asking for. But the negotiation doesn’t necessarily end here.

Many card providers have their own closing specialists, who will try to persuade you to stay. These specialists will offer you an enticing deal, although it’s not always what you’re asking for in the first place. One thing to note is that if you’re usually delinquent in your payments, you might lose the edge when negotiating with closing specialists.

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