- 70% of those who asked for a lower APR in the last year got one.
- Only 15% of cardholders requested a lower APR in the past year.
- The average APR reduction was 6.9 percentage points.
- In last year’s survey, 83% of those who requested a lower APR were successful, a difference of 13 points from this year’s survey results.
- Annual fee waivers or reductions (down from 92% last year to 90% this year) were still the most likely request to be granted.
- A higher credit limit (from 83% to 84%) was the second most likely.
- Balance transfer fees and foreign transaction fees are increasingly likely to be waived. The success rates for these requests improved by 5 points compared to last year, reaching 61% and 58% respectively.
- Men consistently request more breaks from their card issuers than women. The gap was largest for late fee waivers (difference of 21 percentage points), although women were slightly more likely to be charged late fees (24% vs. 23%).
“When you combine those high odds with the amount of money you can save, especially when your card’s APR is lowered, there’s no doubt that it may be worth asking,” said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree. “Yet not enough people are doing it. The two main reasons not to ask? People didn’t know they could do it and they didn’t think they would be successful. We hope to put an end to these misconceptions and help consumers to realize the power they have.”
Schulz adds, “These results should also indicate that people should make these requests as soon as possible. For example, we don’t know if issuers will continue to be more demanding about reducing cardholder APRs. However, given that the Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates multiple times this year, making it more expensive for banks to lend money, it’s entirely possible that issuers will continue to become less receptive to those asking lower rates, waived fees or better terms.
How to ask card issuers for better terms:
- Lower APR: Use other credit card offers or current APRs advertised on the issuer’s website. If you have good credit and you’re not getting the best possible rate, ask them to change that.
- Annual subscription: Issuers may not waive fees entirely, but they offer to reduce fees or offer additional points, rewards or other options. Think about what you will agree to before asking.
- Late fee: You probably don’t have to do much more than just ask nicely. If this is your first offense, chances are they will waive the charge. Cardholders who are usually late in payment will not be so lucky. Setting up an autopay feature can help convince issuers that you’re serious about reimbursement.
- Upper credit limit: If your income has recently increased, getting a higher credit limit may be as simple as notifying your issuer of the change. It might also be a good idea to let your issuer know that you’re requesting a higher limit in order to increase your credit utilization — the amount of debt you have relative to your available credit — and improve your credit score.
To see the full report, visit: https://www.lendingtree.com/credit-cards/study/asking-for-lower-card-apr/.
LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,224 credit card holders, conducted March 10-15, 2022. The survey was administered using a non-probability sample and quotas were used to ensure that the base sample represented the entire population. All responses have been reviewed by researchers for quality control.
LendingTree is the nation’s first online marketplace that connects consumers to the choices they need to be confident in their financial decisions. LendingTree enables consumers to purchase financial services the same way they would purchase airline tickets or hotel stays, by comparing multiple offers from a national network of over 500 partners in a single search, and can choose the option that best suits their financial needs. Services include mortgages, mortgage refinances, auto loans, personal loans, business loans, student loans, insurance, credit cards and more. Through the LendingTree platform, consumers receive free credit scores, credit monitoring, and recommendations to improve credit health. LendingTree proactively compares consumers’ credit accounts to offers in our network and alerts consumers when there is an opportunity to save money. In short, LendingTree’s goal is to help simplify financial decisions for life’s meaningful moments through choice, education and support. LendingTree, LLC is a subsidiary of LendingTree, Inc. For more information, visit www.lendingtree.comcall 800-555-TREE, like our Facebook page and/or follow us on Twitter @LendingTree