Ask an Expert: How Do I Negotiate a Better Deal on the Cards I Have?

Photo (cc) by 401(K) 2012

A Money Talks News reader recently wrote in with the following question:

Jason:
I’ve had two bank credit cards for three years with a $1,000 limit on them. Have never missed or been late on a payment. What do you suggest to get my limits raised and to how much? What about asking for lower interest rates?
Thanks,
Larry

My response

It’s great that Larry has been making all of his payments on time. He should now call the bank and simply ask to have his credit limit increased. They will almost certainly agree unless he has problems with his credit elsewhere.

So then the question becomes: How much of a credit limit increase should he ask for? I wouldn’t put too much thought into it. When Larry asks for the credit limit increase, the bank will likely just tell him how much they are willing to grant. If they do ask, he should say he’d like his limit raised to $5,000. If the bank is unwilling to go that far, they’ll let him know.

Either way he has nothing to lose by asking. In fact, he may even have something to gain. By receiving a higher credit limit, Larry will decrease his debt to credit ratio, which could actually improve his credit score.

As for the lower interest rate, the same reasoning applies. If a cardholder has been making payments on time and has good credit, most banks will be willing to lower his or her interest rates. Again, it never hurts to ask. He might also suggest that he’s received offers in the mail for cards with lower rates. If that doesn’t work, he could also ask to speak to a supervisor and try again.

To see what rates comparable cards are charging, Larry should check out our credit card page.

Banks can be very stingy granting high credit limits and low interest rates when customers don’t have the best credit. But banks are usually willing to loosen up a bit for those who have been good customers for years.

A closing bit of advice for Larry: Be careful what you wish for. A higher limit means more opportunity to get into debt trouble. If you’re not ready for the added responsibility, don’t take the risk.

Note: While we attempt to be completely objective when reporting on credit cards, this site may be compensated by issuers when a reader applies for a credit card through the links within credit card stories or on our credit card search page.

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