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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.