Credit Card Negotiation – Practical Advice, Straight-Up
Ten years ago most people would not dream of trying to negotiate with a credit card company. This is perhaps how they have built up their ‘hard-nosed’ reputation and considered lack of empathy towards their customers.
However a lot has changed over the last ten years, in the last few years in particular with the changes in the world economy and natural disasters putting good hard working people in undesirable and difficult financial situations.
Most people would be surprised at their credit card company’s willingness to negotiate under the right circumstances. However to give it your best shot you need to know how to negotiate with credit card companies first.
1) Ask for Help
First-off don’t call and ask them for a solution, call and tell them you need help and this is what they can do to help you. To do this you’ll first need to sit down and have a good think about what it is that they can do to help you. Are you struggling with the amount of your minimum payments? Are the interest charges so much that you are not making a dent in your credit card debt even with regular repayments? Are your account fees more than you can fit into your budget at the moment? These are just some of the common complaints customers have that can be a good starting point for negotiations. If you cant’t handle the negotiation on your own. you may contact debt solutions companies for assistance.
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2) Realism Not Fantasy
Be realistic about your expectations of your credit card company. They are a company there to make money; they are not a charity and are not obligated to help you out of financial difficulties. It is important to remember this before you can really know how to negotiate credit card debt. The secret here is to come up with a solution that can benefit you and the credit card company. It is not always easy but an example might be: if you
can reduce my minimum payments by 30% then you could increase my interest rate by 1.5%, or vice versa – could they drop your interest rate if you made higher minimum repayments? These types of suggestions are a good way to start the negotiations. The credit card company can see you have thought seriously about a solution for yourself, and one that you believe will work, yet they are getting something out of the deal as well – a win-win situation.
3) Like Anything Else In Life, Persistence Is Critical
Don’t be put off by an initial decline. We all know when we call credit card companies we are usually speaking to a customer service representative who doesn’t usually have the authority to enter into negotiations with customers. You may be best to ask to speak with a supervisor to discuss your options with them. What is even better is making an appointment to see your bank manager in person. That way you can prepare a few documents to show them that prove you’ve done your homework and have a valid solution to your money problems – and don’t forget how to show them it will benefit them as well. It is much harder for people to dismiss negotiations when they are face to face with someone as opposed to over the phone.
Most importantly, don’t give up. You may do the negotiation yourself or you may consider a debt solutions company or a debt relief agency to help you out. If your credit card company is not willing to enter into negotiations then you may need to give it more time. Tell them you will come back to them with another proposal once you have proven yourself as a no-risk customer with 6months worth of on time payments. Or shop around and speak with other credit card companies about what they can offer you if they decide to take on your existing credit card debt. Once you know how to negotiate with credit card companies you will find it a very useful tool for years and years to come!