You want a lower credit card interest rate, but should you ask for it?

Two years ago the answer would have been yes. Consumers were advised to contact their credit card issuers as often as twice yearly to request cuts in their interest rates.

Now it might not be such a good idea.

Unless you absolutely can’t meet the minimum payment with your current interest rate, it might be best to lay low.

Because of the changes that credit card companies have been imposing on even their most creditworthy customers, your credit scores may have come down. Unless you check your credit report regularly, you might not even know that your once “excellent” rating now only looks “good.”

Because any time you ask for a change in terms the card issuer will pull your credit report, asking could backfire. They’ll also ask for additional information such as your employment history, monthly income, etc. If your income has come down due to the economic crisis, or if you’ve changed jobs, it could combine with a lower credit score to work against you.

Your request for a reduction could result in an increase instead – along with a reduction in your credit limit. Then the inquiry on your credit could bring your scores down another notch, which could trigger adverse actions from other credit card issuers.

This is a snowball that is gaining both speed and size, so it’s time for consumers to be very careful.

If you’re having trouble but feel confident that you will manage to stay afloat with your current minimum payments, you shouldn’t draw any attention to your account. Don’t let on to the credit card issuers if your income has dropped – and don’t ask for a change that will cause them to examine your current financial status.

If you truly can’t meet the minimum payments, that’s different. In that case you should ask for assistance.

Credit card issuers don’t want another charge-off. They want to keep you in a position to keep paying, so they are in many cases willing to work with you toward a solution. In fact, in 2008, they gave some kind of debt relief to approximately 2.7 million cardholders. That relief came in the form of a settlement, temporary forbearance, debt consolidation, a payment plan, or an interest rate reduction.

Interestingly, had the credit card issuers not taken such an aggressive stance in trying to boost their profits, many credit card holders might not have had a problem. In a study by Synergistics last January, two-thirds of consumers who received a change in terms reported that they had trouble making minimum payments as a result.

Author: Mike Clover your resource for free credit reports, credit cards, loans, and ground breaking credit news

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Disclaimer: This information has been compiled and provided by as an informational service to the public. While our goal is to provide information that will help consumers to manage their credit and debt, this information should not be considered legal advice. Such advice must be specific to the various circumstances of each person's situation, and the general information provided on these pages should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.