Credit Card Companies Just Say Yes to Late Fee Waivers, Lower Interest

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Want to lower the interest you’re paying on credit card debt? Want the credit card company to waive that late fee? It’s not impossible — in fact, the odds are definitely in your favor.

A recent survey of nearly 1,000 U.S. credit card holders showed that 89% of all consumer requests for a late-fee waiver were granted. More than 75% of requests for lower interest rates were also successful.

The data were reported by CreditCards.com, a division of Bankrate.

Why are these requests so often granted? Maybe because only about 20% of credit card users ask for them.

More likely though is the high cost to the credit card companies of finding a replacement for an existing customer who switches to another card issuer. An executive with market research firm Synergistics Research said:

Consumers just don’t realize how much card companies want to keep them. Issuers know that if you’re worked up enough to call, wait on hold and talk to a customer representative, then there’s a risk that you’re going to close the card. It’s a lot more expensive to acquire a customer these days than it is to retain one, so they do what they can to keep you.

All consumers are not treated the same, however. According to the survey, just 33% of African-American cardholders were successful at getting their interest rates lowered, compared with 81% of whites and 88% of Hispanics.

Customers under the age of 30 also had less success as only 36% could get lower interest rates, compared with 78% of older cardholders.