The Credit Call

By Juan Carlos Fanjul email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

(WFLX) - Times are tough right now, and you may be tempted to pay for more with plastic.

But, financial experts say, it's a bad move to pay with your credit card if you can't pay it off within three months. So what if you're already carrying debt, and interest is building up?

Money Management International says the average household has about $8,000 of credit card debt. Even if you put away the credit cards and start paying in cash, it can still be pretty expensive to pay it all off.

"It's a debt that has to be paid back. It's got an interest rate that can change very quickly, so you do want to keep your credit card debt as low as possible," says consumer credit counselor Crystal Gomoke.

So, how can you do that? "The best way to lower the interest rate is to call them and explain that, you know, I've got this debt with you. I've got a certain interest rate, and I would like a lower interest rate in order for me to keep my business with you."

Fox 29 wanted to know if it's really as easy as simply making a phone call. So, we set out armed with a cell phone and a script on a mission to help people lower their interest rates. They called their credit card company and read a few sentences asking for a lower rate.

Here's what the script read:

"I'm a good customer, but I received some offers in the mail from other companies with lower percentage rates. I was really wanting to lower the rate on my card, can you help me?"

Paul Stapp is glad he called. He carries about $4,000 on his card. His credit card company lowered his interest rate from 24 percent to 19.99 percent. "It's gonna be down. It's gonna be lower."

Carol Eischite didn't have as much luck, but her interest rate was already fairly low at 8.9 percent.

Leanne Carrol had the best luck with our experiment. Her interest rate was lowered from 24.9 percent to 14.9 percent. "I was surprised that they dropped it that much."

If you do make the call and the answer is no, ask to speak to a supervisor. If the answer is still no, call again and try with another representative.