For many consumers, the point of getting a credit card is simply to make it possible to purchase items without using cash. Sometimes, the cash is in the bank, but more often than not, it isn’t. When this happens, debt can escalate as more purchases are made, interest charges build up, and late fees occur. Even the most responsible adult can find himself in a jam when a bill is forgotten, unemployment knocks on the door repeatedly, or a medical emergency happens.
You probably already know all of this. However, what you may not know is that shopping around for the best credit card really can make a difference in your life financially. Even if you aren’t worried about late fees, unless you pay your credit card bills in full, you are racking up unnecessary interest fees.
Start with Some Research
Do some browsing on the Internet and find out what the average interest rates being offered on credit cards are. Next, take a look at the typical late fees just for comparison’s sake. Finally, search for credit card companies that offer consumers an account without charging an annual fee. Now, look at what your particular credit cards are charging for each of these. If your credit cards compare poorly with these figures, it is time to take a proactive stance.
Make a Phone Call to Your Credit Card Company
If the only complaint that you have with your credit card is that the annual fee, interest rate, or late fees are too high compared to the facts that you have discovered, call your credit card company directly. Get someone in customer service to talk with you. Explain your unhappiness with these fees and ask if you can have them reduced. If you are told no, ask them to allow you to speak with a supervisor. You may have to wait a few moments, but it is certainly worth it.
When you get the chance to speak with the supervisor, mention that you are considering switching to another credit card due to the high interest rate, annual fee, or late fees attached to your type of account. In many cases, the supervisor will automatically waive the annual fee. Next, he may suggest running a credit check to see if you qualify for lower interest rates. If he does this, it may influence your credit score slightly, so it’s important not to do so if you are currently looking for a loan of some sort.
Switching Credit Card Companies
If you haven’t been able to get your credit card company to cooperate with your requests, then it is time to switch to a new card. In many cases, you can apply online for a new credit card. If you prefer, you can call the company directly and either complete the application process over the phone or you can request that they mail you an application that you can submit at a later time. Make sure that you continue to pay off any existing credit card balances on your previous accounts before trying to cancel them.