Gerri: OK, I want to talk about that a little bit later on the show. But let's start with what to do when you talk to your credit card companies. So we've talked about the fact that you do want to negotiate if you're paying more than 0%. You get on the phone, you're a little bit nervous, what do you say to them?
Scott: That's exactly why I wrote my book ("Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt"). People are nervous, they don't know what to say, so what I did was I recorded the banks. You know, how when you call the banks they record us for training purposes? Well I recorded them for training purposes, to train everyone on how to deal with the banks. So the book has a whole bunch of calls -- the actual transcripts from the calls. In the book I have 52, but I've made hundreds. I just picked the ones that would represent the basic outcome that you would have.
So I would say that, you know, if you're nervous about calling there are many things you can do, but you should always call. There's nothing to be nervous about. Just pick up the phone, give them a call and, let's say, do something easy like waive a late fee. That's pretty easy to do.
If you have a late fee, call your bank, get that thing waived, especially if it's your first one. Just call up, talk to the first person: "Hey, I was looking at my credit card statement, I noticed this late fee, can you waive that fee for me?" And I have never heard of a case for a first-time late fee when they didn't waive the fee. They always waive that fee no matter what, throughout the years, they always do it.
Gerri: So you don't have to have some kind of good excuse as to why you were late? You just have to ask for them to waive it?
Scott: Yep, that's correct. And you can make up an excuse if you want but it doesn't matter, they're going to waive it. I've never heard of somebody calling for the first time and not having it waived. And I've made dozens and dozens of calls just for that thing, just for that purpose -- having the first late fee waived. Even if you've had a couple of late fees in a row they'll still waive one or two of them. They might not waive them all, if you have six in a row it's going to be a little trickier -- you might have to call and let them know they're going to get paid. But the bottom line is, if you do something like that, just call up, talk to the first person; they'll probably be able to do it.
Now when you try to lower interest rates or do more difficult things like multiple late fees, something like that, chances are the very first person you're going to speak to will not be able to do it. So you're going to ask to speak to their supervisor, say, "Hey, can I talk to your supervisor?" They're going to say, probably, "My supervisor's going to tell you the same thing." And you just say, "Wonderful, I want to talk to your supervisor anyway."
Then the supervisor's going to get on the phone, you're going to go through the whole thing again, and now we'll see what the supervisor's going to do. If you're just asking, it's going to be difficult. You want to have a deal breaker ready, something you're going to do when they don't do what you want. So you say, "Listen, I got all these credit offers, I want to transfer my balance so what do you want to do? Do you want to just lower my rate or get rid of this fee, or am I just going to leave you and not do business with you and close my account?"
Prior to 2009, that worked really well. After that, I definitely heard of cases where people would say they didn't care.
More from Credit.com:
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Thought the article was supposed to be about how to lower your credit card interest rates by giving suggestions about how to talk to the card company etc.
Per the article it seems that the only way to lower it is to have a zero balance. It is doubtful that having had a relationship with the card company for many many years and having a zero balance many times through out the years matters even with a good credit score.
Oh well ....what ev.
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