What Credit Card Companies Don’t Want You to Know, Part I

There are some things credit card companies would rather you didn’t know, because they’re in your favor. Yes, you read that right!

Lest ye forget, Dear Reader: credit card companies aren’t really your friends. As nice as they may seem by making free with the card offers and giving you 0% interest rates if you’ll just transfer your balance, they’re among the most purely mercenary of industries.

You Star Trek fans might think of them as the Ferengi of the financial world. All they care about is making money. If they’ll do things like wait till three days before your payment’s due to send your bill (as they often used to), they won’t hesitate NOT to tell you simple things that could profit you instead of them.

Let’s take a look at a few.

Secret #1: You may be able to avoid an annual fee.

Let’s say your favorite card suddenly sends you a letter telling you they’ve “reluctantly” decided to start charging an annual fee. Suppose further that you’d rather not pay the fee. Just be blunt and say so.

If you call the credit card issuer and tell them you’re going to close your account if they don’t waive the fee, they’ll probably give in, especially if you’ve spent boucoup bucks with them over the years. Why should they ruin that profitable relationship over a few bucks a year?

No need to be rude about it, but you don’t have to take it lying down, either. Just be firm in asking for the waiver, and don’t fall for their arguments.

Secret #2: You can negotiate a different due date.

If your utility, rent, phone, and credit card bills all fall due at the same time, it can make for some difficult financial juggling. Wouldn’t it be easier if your Visa bill were due on the 15th and the MasterCard on the 22nd? Well, you can do that.

Just call the appropriate company and ask for the change. Most will take care of it right away, even if you’re not a platinum customer.

Secret #3: Your card may have some cool benefits they don’t advertise.

Some credit cards, especially the best reward cards, have fine-print benefits they don’t widely advertise…so very few of us use them. Ironically, that makes them easier for those of us in the know to use. I’ve written about rental car insurance before, and you can also get things like travel cancellation reimbursement.

One thing you may not know is that if your card is lost or stolen, some issuers will overnight a new one to you for free, as long as you know to ask them to. Just tell them you want expedited shipping. Not all credit card companies do this, but you can get the service from American Express, Citi, Chase Sapphire, and more.