How a Simple Request Turned Into $1,000 Savings


Dear Mary: In a recent column, a reader wrote saying it didn’t work to call her credit card company to ask them to lower her credit card’s interest rate. Your response reminded me that I had a 14.99 percent interest rate on a Visa card with a credit union that I have belonged to for 32 years.

I made the call and simply asked for a review of my account. I went on to explain that I wanted to pay off my card without intervention of a third party but with my high interest rate, I wasn’t making much of a dent in a very high balance.


I got an immediate response by email with an offer of 10.99 percent. I accepted and asked if I changed the rewards card to a regular card, could it decrease the percent (I had heard in the past it could reduce the interest rate by a percent). To my surprise, they said if I went to a premium Visa or MasterCard, that it would decrease to 8.99 percent. Needless to say, I am ecstatic and so thankful for your reminder to keep trying.

Thank you for all you do to help us work through the stresses of financial bondage. Sandy O., email

Dear Sandy: Good job. I applaud your courage to ask your credit card issuer for a lower rate. The difference between 14.99 and 8.99 percent is huge. Expect your monthly minimum payment to go down considerably to reflect the lower rate of interest. I suggest that you ignore the lower payments; instead make the largest payments possible. That’s the way to take advantage of a lower rate, as more of the amount you send each month will go to reduce the balance owing. You’ll knock down that debt to $0 in no time, and save as much as a $1,000 in interest.

Dear Mary: Recently a friend was over and I was opening my mail. She happened to see one of my credit card statements. She screamed, “OH MY GOSH!! YOU HAVE A $8,000 CREDIT CARD BILL!!!??” I said, “Oh yeah it adds up over time. But that is just a statement, I make payments.”

She then replied, “Honey I love you, but if you think that bill is just a statement, you are dumber than you look right now. That is a BIG FAT BILL anyway you want to look at it!”

I was so embarrassed. She grabbed my purse, found the card and cut it up. I know it will take a while to pay my debts but I have made a decent start. And I have good reinforcements to help. I just wish I would have taken your advice more seriously years ago when I first found you. Kimberly C., Texas

Dear Kimberly: I only wish I could have been a fly on the wall to witness that dialogue. I would have been cheering. You are fortunate to have a friend who cares enough to exercise that kind of tough love. I have no doubt that you are going to make it. I know of at least two people who will accept nothing less from you.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Linda Trout

    Mary, I am so happy, no ecstatic, that I subscribe to receive your emails. I have had quite a few DAH moments. You’ve put things into perspective in a way that some of the ideas were in my “mind” but needed someone to point them out. Thanks so much. I, always, look forward to what I will find when I click on. Linda

  • Sandra

    “She happened to see one of my credit card statements.”

    that’s the frightening part.

  • Ann

    Proceed with caution, especially if you are not making the money
    you were when you got that card years- ago. Let’s see…maybe that is why you aren’t paying it off in the first place?
    I not only did not get a rate decrease, but they
    cancelled my card from one of their
    fellow banks, which had no balance on it,
    which of course would increase my debt-to-available credit ratio, and
    lower my FICO. On the card in question, they lowered my limit to $500
    five hundred…over what my current balance was. Same thing: lower my FICO,
    and now, they can charge me more because I have a worse FICO.
    The rate didn’t go up and I eventually paid it off, but with
    a very sour taste.

    So… when they
    “review your account” be careful what information you give out.
    They will ask for income information.

    These people are not your friends.
    This is not “customer service”.

  • Barb P

    Thanks to you Mary, I have no credit card debt, if I use one it gets paid off every month. I am also trying to stock pile $$ for the $10,000 emergency
    fund!! You are so helpful. Barb. P PS- I really miss my hard copy of DPL
    with all of your good stuff, I don’t seem to get time when I had the on-line subscription. BUT… I love your daily e-mails, you and your staff are terrific!!