Carrying a CC balance? Guy lowers his APR by 5.75% using my negotiation scripts

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you’re carrying a balance on your credit card, the first thing you should do is call your credit card and negotiate your APR down. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, you can save a ton of money.

I include a call script in Chapters 1 and 2 of my book to do this.

Aaron T. writes:

I was fortunate enough to come out of school with no student loans, but do have $4364.11 in credit card debt over 2 cards. One is $999.03 and the other is 3,365.08. I just started reading your book yesterday, today I called the card with the higher balance to lower my APR from 19.99%. I have had this card for almost 4 years. My Mom had been paying the minimum for a year or so, but since I became full time I took over any other bills my parents were paying. I have paid $200 the last 3 months and my minimum payment is around $89.

Anyways, I just called and asked, (I had to do no negotiating really, I just followed the script you have in your book) and I got my APR lowered from 19.99% to 14.24%, effective immediately.

Basically, the $13.95 my girlfriend paid for your book will more than pay for itself by the time I get my next bill.

See for yourself with full-chapter excerpts of my book.

Then get the book at Amazon or B&N.

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  1. Ramit – I bought your book the day it came out because I believe in paying for value, and I’ve learned a lot from your site. This kind of negotiation is brilliant because the ROI is so high. If this guy takes to heart the other chapters in his book like he did the first two, I suspect he’ll be in a much better situation in a few months.

  2. Ramit,

    I am in a similar situation as the person in the post. Instead of debt though, I used your negotiation tips in your book to negotiate an extra $3,000 in salary when I signed my first full-time job out of college a couple of weeks ago.

    Thanks!

  3. I am going to have to give the script a try now, I called a few weeks ago and only got a 0.5% reduction in my APR! Amazon.com it is!

  4. Thomas: AWESOME. I’ll follow up with you to get the details!

  5. I plan to do this over the next few days. Glad its working for many people, hopefully for me too.

    I just purchased the book yesterday and my girlfriend snatched it up and started reading it before I could finish the 2nd chapter :). I hope to blog about the successes I find while using the tips from your book Ramit. I just need to find a way to do it so that I don’t accidentally give away all the tips!

  6. I have a reminder setup to re-occur every 6 months, I’ve gotten my cards down from 16.99% to 5.2%. Eventually they try to jack them back up but the reminder keeps them down. Also, if you have decent credit at all just transfer to 0% a year.

    BTW – I’m now smart enough to realize that carrying a balance is stupid. I wisened up a couple of years ago and I’m still cleaning up the mess. I’m getting there, I’ve paid off $13,000 in a little over a year.

  7. I also followed your script and got my 27.74% card down to 13.49%
    SO Glad I bought the book ;)

  8. It’s just like my dad always says, “there’s no shame in asking!” I just paid off all my debt and it’s a really liberating feeling. So, as they say in The Power of Small, any steps you can take, no matter how little, to get closer to that goal are a real help.

  9. It would be great to have your book as an Audible book or a PDF file :) Than it can be read/heard anywhere with an iPhone :) I just got “The power of Less” from Audible and going to listen it for the next couple of days while traveling.

  10. Further proof that it never hurts to ask!

    I have had late fees waived just by calling and requesting that my card issuer remove them.

  11. Both my CCs went from around 7% Fixed to 14% and 24% VARIABLE bc Capital and BoA wanted more profit on their customer base.

    Anyone have luck with these scripts in these scenarios? Ive never been late and carry some balance on the cards. I dotn want to cancel them and lower my credit score by reducing my unused credit.

  12. It’s ironic this was posted today. I just called to lower my APR, too.

    I have paid my bills on time, been a solid customer for 2 years, found that i was paying 12.99% and I figured if they’d lower it to 9.9% it’d be OK.

    It was with BoA. First guy connected me to a dead number. The second guy was a moron, “the option won’t let me do it. You can’t.” Me: “Umm…dude, this is pretty standard” Him: “Umm, nope. You can’t change your APR.” I figured it was hopeless so I called a third time, got a smart person, and she connected me to the right people.

    I gave her the pitch of me being awesome, and she said, “you are” and I felt good about myself. They reduced it to 9.99% (not that I needed it), but someday, who knows.

    Should I call back again and see if I can reduce it another 3%, or wait another few months? Or see if they’ll just give me 0%. I figure 3% is a start, but I’m greedy…

  13. Also, the credit people at BoA asked me about my salary, savings, how much I pay in rent, my employer, job, etc. Same stuff to increase your credit line online. Did anyone else get this interrogation?

  14. Now that he has gotten a rate decrease I would suggest that he call back in a few weeks and ask for another decrease. I did this a few weeks ago and I went down from 15.99% -> 9.99% -> 5.99% for the next 9 months…by that time I’ll pay off the remaining balance.

  15. Yes, I got the same questions and also what days i get paid as well!

  16. “Anyways, I just called and asked, (I had to do no negotiating really, I just followed the script you have in your book) and I got my APR lowered from 19.99% to 14.24%, effective immediately.”

    Even better idea is to take cheaper loan and pay off your cc debt.

  17. Sadly, I tried the script with the Bank Of America customer service guy, trying to get a lower rate than the 18.15% I’m being charged. All he could tell me was that ‘due to the economy, banks are actually raising rates right now, so if you’ve got a better rate somewhere else and can transfer your balance, I’d recommend that you do it.’

    There’s no “oh yeah? well, maybe I will!” script for that.

  18. Is it just me or would it have made more sense for this guy to take out a few student loans before finishing school?

    Even a few unsubsidized loans to pay down some or all of this debt would be better than his current situation. He claims he is fortunate but I would rather have double his balance in stafford loans or equivalent than that nasty CC debt.

  19. AJ,

    Try again. He’s a moron. Some employees suck, and some employees don’t.

    If you call that credit card # on the BoA website they provide, you’ll first get someone who has no idea what they are doing. They’ll have to connect you to the right people (apparently the ACTUAL credit department with more rights to change user settings in the software they are using, etc.). It took me 3 calls. First time they dialed me into a dead number. The second guy said, “No. you can’t do that” I was like, “Um, this is pretty standard. of course you can.” He replied, “Nope. The button is grayed out. It can’t be done.” I asked, “Transfer me to someone else.” He said, ‘Nope, no one can help you.” At that point I knew I was talking to an idiot and called a 3rd time and got a different assistant who directed me to the right number.

    If at first you fail, ask someone else who knows what they are doing :)

  20. Thanks for the tip David, I’ll try that!

  21. I used your methods too and saved about 8% on my car insurance without having to cancel or reduce my coverages.

    The video helped the most.
    Thanks!

  22. Thanks for sharing great tip!

  23. These negotiation techniques really work. I recently received a notice upping the rate on a card with a $4k balance by 10% – just because they are sending out notices to everyone. I’ve been a good customer and always been on time. Called them up and actually got my rate locked in a lower one than I have been paying. Decided to call up my insurance company immediately following and got my motorcycle insurance reduced as well.

    A lot of cc companies are sending out notices to increase rates and threatening that opting out will end up in closing out the account. I kept a friendly tone with the guy on the line and kept asking if there were other options and ended up reducing my rate. Same thing with the insurance company. Lesson for me is that it never hurts to ask and be firm. These two calls will save me hundreds of dollars.

  24. Without fail, every time I’ve called to to request to lower my interest rate, I’ve been told no due to the economy. Often followed by a letter within a month to raise my rates to prime plus. I am currently paying at least the minimum , on time and was agressively paying the highest interest rate down. I’ve been scolded for not carrying a balance, and for keeping unused card locked in a safe. (They requested the three digit number on the back of the card to verify I was holding the card). I just got one letter saying that rates were being increased to increase THEIR profitability. Very frustrating. IF this is the change promised, Obama needs to rethink this strategy.

  25. If I could get my fiance’s rate lowered 5.75% we’d have a card with a little under 2%. My card is already below 12%, but I don’t carry a balance. I’m shocked anyone with a credit score higher than 600 hasn’t demanded a rate below 15%.

  26. So I ordered IWTYTBR a few weeks ago from Amazon (still waiting for it btw) after reading the first chapter online (thanks Ramit!) and decided to give calling the credit card company to lower my APR a try. My initial APR was 16.99%. I followed Ramit’s script and the agent told me that he could give me 14.99%. I persisted (cuz that’s what Ramit would do) and got transferred to an account specialist. I told the new agent that 14.99% would not be good because I have a high balance transfer (2.99%) on the account and from what I understand, the payments go toward the lower APR first. I explained to him that I would like to continue using the card for future purchases without worrying about my finance charges going higher and higher. He told me that he understood and offered me 7.99% for the next nine billing cycles. UNBELIEVABLE! I asked to have the rate put permanently in place but he said that it wasn’t possible, probably because of the new CARD Act Obama signed the other day.

  27. I only owe a little over $400 on my CareCredit Card, and having been making regular, much-more-then-the-minimum payments for over a year. I tried this and they refused to lower the APR at all! The said it’s non-negotiable. I even waited on hold for 45 minutes to speak to an escalation rep. who said the same! They gave me the number for a credit counseling service!

  28. Be careful – if you’re carrying a lot of high balances this can actually hurt you. I’ve racked up quite a balance on one of my credit cards, and when I called to ask for a rate reduction, they ran a review of my credit. Not only did they reduce my APR, but actually DECREASED my credit limit!! Those fuckers. I would have been better off not calling to request an account review.

  29. Nowhere in this e-mail do you give the title of your book so I could buy it in a book store, nor is there a place to order it here on-line. I would like to buy a copy if it is in the price range mentioned by one of the people giving a comment in this e-mail.

  30. I tried this with 2 cards following the script in the book. Both of the customer service reps I talked to said they weren’t offering any other rates at this time. I even said I had other offers, was going to close my card, etc, etc. Perhaps I will try again and ask for a supervisor.

  31. I love hearing these stories about how people negotiated their APR. Another thing to think about if you are carrying a massive amount of CC debt is debt settlement. I work for a debt settlement company, and we love hearing how people are able to negotiate interest rates. Lowering APR is a great way to lower your debt in the long term.