Credit card companies take a stand - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Credit card companies take a stand

Wausau, WI (WAOW)--  A simple script used to be all it took to lower the interest rates on your credit card.  But in this tough economy credit card companies are taking a stand.  Making it difficult for the consumer to reduce their rates.

Even financial advisors haven't seen them budging much.


We asked a number of people to call the 800 number on the back of their card and give it a try.Tara Marshall called her credit card company.  She read the following script allowed.

"Hi my name is Tara Marshall. I've been a good customer with you for a long time and I've been getting a lot of new offers in the mail for a lower APR and would like to know if I could lower my interest rates on my existing card."

But she didn't have much luck.  Marshall was told she couldn't lower her rates, only open a new card.So we tried again with someone else.  Jennie Pepke, a long time credit card holder with good credit history.

"Hi my name is Jennie Pepke I've been your best customer since 2008 and I'd like to lower my rates."

But after five minutes on hold she still hadn't even reached an operator."I've had to give them a lot of information by punching keys but even after all that I'm still listening to hold music"

And when she finally did, it wasn't the answer she was hoping for."They told me no," Pepke explained.

So we turned to the professionals and asked them why this simple script no longer works.

James Koehler, Financial Advisor for Ameriprise Financial in Wausau told us that, "if they show that they are soft than everyone would take advantage of that."

Al Steiner of Principal Financial Group agreed."There a big business just like any big business and sometimes they don't always look out for the little guy."

Steiner also explained that the federal government is considering capping interest rates, leaving credit card companies wanting to make as much money before that happens."If there gonna lose money in the future there gonna try to make as much as they can right now hurting you and I," Steiner tells me.

That puts consumers in a bit of a pinch.

Experts say the best way to lower your interest rates is behavior based.  Pay your bills on time and only use your credit card for purchases you know you can pay off."Pay your bills. Make purchases easy. Accumulate points,  and pay everything off every month," Koehler recommends.

And as for scripts. Well, you can't talk your way out of debt anymore.

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