spectating participant

March 1, 2006

How low can you go?

Filed under: family, life — suzanne henderson @ 4:29 pm

Taking care of those you love is important, especially if you plan on linking your life to theirs in the near future. Today, I took on the task of my partner’s credit card companies to see if I could get a lower rate. Now, I’ve read how easy it is to get a lower rate — just call! — and figured it wouldn’t be too hard.

The first company I called required me to argue just enough to be transferred to another department. Here they promptly offered to drop the rate by 2%. I said that wasn’t good enough and so she dropped it 2% more. For some reason, I just accepted this and let it stand that that. It turned out to be a 4.75% drop. However, she did suggest that I call back in the near future, saying that since we were able to go down 4% today, that it could be very possible to go down more at a later date. Over all the call took at most 5 minutes.

The second company I called was even easier. I didn’t have to get transferred to another person to discuss rate reduction. In fact, at the very mention of it, the rate dropped a about 4% first offer. I argued that this wasn’t enough and down another 4% it went. So, within just a minute or two, the rate was 8.5% lower than I’d started with.

The final company I called sucked. Their rate is the highest of all of them and it going up by about 4% later this month. The first person I spoke too said that it was not possible to get a lower rate. I convinced her to let me speak to someone else, and again, I was told that it is not possible. Not only was I not able to get a lower rate but I wouldn’t be able to prevent the rate from going even higher. I got the clear impression that they no long want his business and now we need to look at the best method for transferring that debt to somewhere else.

So, that was an interesting experience. With the first company, I know I should have persisted, especially with the urging that I call back to get an even lower rate. Somehow, my mind almost tells me that was some subtle code for “ask me again and I’ll give you an ever lower rate”. Oh well, I’ll call back next month and see what I can do. He has another account that he called for a lower rate on recently and I want to give them another call and see if I can get it even lower. I’ll call them both then.

Now, I need to figure out what to do about the one card with the very high rate. Since we’re trying to buy a house, it feels like this needs extra thought and planning. Using a card with the 0% balance transfer offer would be nice, but those are mostly on new card offers and it would not look good to be out getting more credit. However, if we just transfer it to another lower rate card, then that will skew the ratio of balance to credit limit and may also hurt us. Hmmm… what to do.