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It's not that your credit card company deliberately wants to keep you in the dark. OK, maybe some do. But most major banks are pretty good about disclosing their terms and conditions on credit cards. The tips I'm talking about here fall into the "I didn't know that!" category -- things you can, indeed, negotiate with your credit card company.

If you've had problems making payments on time or have had other difficulties being a responsible cardholder, though, you might not want to initiate contact with your card issuer. It can backfire (see No. 7). That's my "don't try this at home" warning to anyone whose records can't pass scrutiny.

Here are seven secrets for turning your relationship with a card issuer more in your favor:

No. 1: You're the boss

Card issuers work for you, not the other way around. You have more power than you know. Really, you do. And the higher your credit score, the more power you have.

How high does it have to be? At least 700 to wield a moderate amount of power. Over 750, and you're in a sweet bargaining position. It's easy to fall into a trap of complaining about how you're being treated. But if you don't like something, take action. That could mean "firing" your credit card issuer or just having a serious talk with someone at the bank about your concerns.

But even if your credit score suffered in the wake of the Great Recession, you're still in command. You don't have as much negotiating power as those with excellent credit do, for sure. But you're still in charge of your credit life, and you're the one who will choose how to get your credit back on track.

No. 2: You can lower your current interest rate

The best tactic here is flirting with the competition. Let's say you get an offer in the mail for a good-looking credit card that has a lower interest rate than your current card. Call your issuer and be your nicest, most cordial self. Tell the customer service rep that you're considering getting this new credit card so you can have a lower interest rate.

If there are any other features the new card offers, such as waived baggage fees, then mention those, too. Say that you'd really prefer to stay put, emphasizing that you've been such a loyal customer for so long. If you've indeed been a stand-up customer, you have a chance of making this work.

If you don't get anywhere with the service rep, ask to speak with a supervisor. And through all of it, be polite and don't get frustrated. Even if you don't succeed on the first try, make a note of the supervisor's name. Be the best-ever cardholder for six months, then try again.

No. 3: You can play hard to get before you apply for a new card

You'll need a little bit of confidence to pull this off. It also helps if you've had acting lessons, because no matter how much you want the card, you must act indifferent. Your attitude is: What will you offer me to get my business?

The card issuer needs you more than you need it, and that's why this tactic can work. Again, having competitive offers in hand helps give you the necessary clout. Explain that you'd like to become a cardholder, but that you're looking at an offer from a competitor and the other card doesn't have an annual fee. Or the other card has a lower interest rate. Ask your would-be issuer to waive the annual fee or beat the competitor's interest rate.

No. 4: You don't actually get 45 days' notice when your bank decides to raise your interest rate

According to the Credit CARD Act, the issuer does have to give you 45 days' notice when your interest rate is being increased. That just means that you have 45 days before you have to pay the higher rate. You actually start accruing interest at the higher rate on any purchases you make 14 days after the notice was mailed. So on the 15th day after the notice is mailed, you start paying a higher interest rate on new purchases.

Legally, credit card issuers aren't doing anything wrong. But don't you suspect a few of them are counting on consumers to be unaware of this loophole in the law? As soon as you get the notice in the mail, look at the postmark date so you know when the new rate takes effect.

No. 5: You can get a late fee removed

Many issuers say they don't report a good customer if they're slightly late just one time, but don't take any chances. As mentioned in No. 2, call the issuer and be really polite while you tell the story of why you're late this one time.

In the South, we say that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. I've never understood why you'd ever want to catch more flies (the imagery alone is kind of disgusting), but the basic principle is valid. If you don't have a history of tardiness, you have a good chance of pulling off this one.

No. 6: You can eliminate -- or at least reduce -- an annual fee

This is usually presented as an all-or-nothing tactic. By all means, do try to get the whole fee waived, but if it looks as if you can't make it happen, ask to have half the fee waived. I know a few people who have succeeded at getting a 50% fee cut. You can also plan ahead and say something like "How about a 50% cut for the next two years?"

See? You're in charge. You don't always get what you want, but if you aim high enough, you can end up in a better place than the one you were in when you started.

No. 7: You can ask to have your credit limit raised

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I know an attorney who called a major issuer and asked to get his credit limit raised. The customer service rep took a look at his payment history and balance.

The rep said, "Sorry, sir, but given your high balance and payment history, we need to reduce your credit limit." This not only infuriated him, but it also lowered his credit score when his utilization ratio went up.

When you contact the issuer, give a few reasons why you're worthy of an increase (you have stable employment and just got a raise, have never made a late payment, etc.). Whatever you do, don't sound needy. This is another situation when acting lessons might pay off.