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

Credit card companies make a lot of money on little things they don’t bother to tell you that you can save money on. Here are a few.

Credit card companies are businesses, whatever forms they may take, and as such are obligated to make money if they expect to survive. Sometimes they do it at your expense, simply by not telling you how you can save a little money here and there with very little effort.

Since every dollar saved is a dollar closer to your next car, even the little things matter. In Part I of this article, I suggested ways to avoid annual fees, negotiate new due dates for your credit card statements, and take advantage of a few perks.

In this exciting conclusion, we’ll look at a few more moneysaving options, most of which will work best if you’re a loyal customer with a history of prompt payment.

Secret #4: Sometimes you can negotiate your interest rate.

If you’re a long-term customer and your credit card issuer decides to raise your interest rate for some reason or other, call them on it. As with other small fees, if you’ve earned them thousands of dollars over the years, they probably won’t care to lose your business over a few dollars.

If you always pay your bill on time, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t work with you. Just call and ask, citing your loyalty to them. Even if they won’t keep your interest rate at its current level, you may be able to negotiate a compromise.

On the other hand, If you have a history of late payments or always keep your card maxed out, forget it.

Secret #5: You can ask the issuer to waive a late fee.

Supposing you make the embarrassing faux pas of actually being late with a payment. Whether you have a history of doing so or not, the issuer will smack you with a nasty late fee. If it’s the first time, don’t just suck it up. Call and remind them of your exemplary record; they may waive the fee this once.

Secret #6: You can set up automatic payments on your bank account.

One way to avoid late fees is to take advantage of automatic bill payment options offered by most issuers and/or your bank. You may have to wade through some fine print and jump through some hoops, but you’ll never have a late payment again–as long as you keep money in your account.

The Bottom Line

Credit cards are a luxury that no one should be without, especially as the use of cash withers away. But that doesn’t mean that you should allow the card issuers to take advantage of your eagerness to use them. Keep these tips in mind, and the credit card companies won’t take more from you than they deserve.