You know what they say: It never hurts to ask. Many consumers don’t know this advice applies to credit cards. Call your provider with targeted questions and you could save money — or even boost your credit score.
There are benefits to asking your card issuer the right questions. However, it’s not always easy to know which questions to ask — especially because there are specific things to know about particular cards.
Knowing a few broader questions, however, is a good place to start. Check out a few general questions to help you out across the board.
1. Which credit report do you pull for my application?
When you apply for a credit card, the provider will run a hard pull on your credit. This hard inquiry usually lowers your credit score by a few points.
Since your credit score takes a hit, be relatively confident you’ll be approved for the card. The higher your score, the better your odds.
Your credit score is different depending on the credit bureau. The three major bureaus in the United States are TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, each calculating a slightly different score.
By asking which bureau the credit card provider pulls from, you can check your score and make sure it’s in good shape. That way you’ll know your chance of approval before you apply and taking a hit from your hard pull.
2. Can you clear my late fee?
Late fees can hurt: Most providers charge $27 to $39 each time you miss your due date. If you see a late fee on your account, call your provider. Explain your mistake, assure the agent it won’t happen again and ask if you can have the fee cleared.
If you’ve been a customer for a while with a record of on-time payments, let the representative know. They could make that late fee disappear.
Avoid late fees altogether by setting up autopay or putting reminders on your phone or calendar.
Try these providers for fewer late fees
Some providers will give you a break on late fees — either on your first one or on all of them. Here are a few:
|Discover||No fee the first time you pay late. After that, a fee of up to $40 for each subsequent late payment.|
|Citi Simplicity® Card||No late fees.|
|PenFed Promise Visa® Card||No late fees.|
|Apple Card||No late fees.|
|Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card||No late fees.|
3. I’d like to change my payment due date.
After you open your card account, your issuer assigns you a payment due date. You might want to change this for a few reasons:
- Set your due date for when you have more cash available.
If your bills come about the same time of the month, you can relieve some financial stress by requesting your due date at a different time. Breaking up your due dates can open up more cash flow.
- Pick a convenient day to pay your bill.
If moving your due date isn’t about cash flow but convenience, consider asking for a new date. It can be easier to remember that all of your credit cards are due on the same day.
If you’ve changed your due date recently, you might not be able to change it. Also, your provider might not let you select the 29th, 30th or 31st because they’re not found in every month.
4. Will you lower my APR?
You might be surprised by how fast credit card interest can accumulate. This is especially true if you don’t check your monthly statement. If you’re carrying a balance on your card, consider asking your provider to lower your APR.
You’ll have a better chance of success if:
- You’ve been a customer for a while and have a history of on-time payments.
Let the customer service representative know about your stellar record.
- You have a strong credit score.
Because you’re a valuable customer, your issuer has an incentive to keep you happy and make sure you don’t take your business to a different card provider.
- You’re getting credit card offers in the mail.
This is a hint that you have a strong credit score and you’re a customer other banks want. While you’re on the phone with your issuer, let them know you have other offers in hand. If other issuers are offering you specific interest rates, use this information to negotiate your APR.
No luck getting your APR lowered? Keep building your credit score and try again in several months. Try to pay your credit card balance in full each month so you never have to worry about your APR.
Pro tip: Be nice
When calling in with one of these credit card questions, be friendly. Credit card reps put up with rude customers constantly, and most people call in with problems.
If you’re nice, you could be a breath of fresh air to your rep. Not only is this a kind gesture, it might also increase the odds of getting what you want. Don’t be afraid to be casual: Representatives are people too, and you’d be surprised how personable they can be.
5. Can I have a credit limit increase?
This is a question most cardholders never knew they could ask — and it can positively impact your credit score. Ask your provider for an increase in your credit limit if you consistently paid your bill on time and have a great credit score.
There’s one major pro and one major con to getting a credit limit increase:
|Because your credit limit increases, your overall credit utilization decreases.|
For example, if you’re currently using $500 of your $1,000 credit limit, you’re at 50% credit utilization. But if you get a credit limit increase to $2,000, you’re now at $500/$2,000 = 25% credit utilization. This will have a positive effect on your credit score.
|It’s common for a provider to use a hard inquiry for credit limit increases. And because a hard pull can lower your credit score by a few points, you may what to hold off on that request if you plan on applying for a loan or other credit.|
Also, consider putting off on your request if your credit score is damaged. You don’t want to have a hard pull only to get your request denied. Worse, your provider may decrease your credit limit if your credit score is too low.
If you’re lucky, your provider might increase your credit limit without you even asking. There’s no big secret to making this happen: Simply pay on time and keep your credit score high.
You might be surprised what you can get if you just ask. With a simple phone call to your card issuer, you could save money or boost your credit score.
If you don’t get what you’re looking for, you can always consider one of the top credit cards currently available.
What number do I call to reach my credit card issuer?
Find the customer support number on the back of your credit card.
How much will my credit score drop when I apply for a new card?
There’s no set amount that your credit score might decrease. But typically, consumers see a drop of around five to 10 points.
What is considered a good credit score?
A good FICO score is generally considered 670 and above.