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Credit Card Negotiation 101

If you're looking to lower your rate or waive a fee, here's how to ask

4.  Point out your length of time as a customer
For those of you who've been with a credit card company for a number of years, use your long-term status as leverage in asking for what you want. This can really work in your favor because most banks value loyal, long-term customers.

5. Emphasize how much business you've done
Many of you might have racked up a lot of charges over time. If you've been a valued customer by virtue of having charged many goods and services, make that known. And state that you also value the relationship with your creditor and would like to remain a customer in good standing.

6. Stress your willingness to pay what you owe
Creditors may not be inclined to be flexible with individuals they perceive as trying to "get over." The worst thing you can do is to convey the impression that you're a "deadbeat" who is out to weasel out of paying your obligations. A better strategy: stress that you are, in fact, willing and desirous of paying your bills.

7. Reveal any extenuating circumstances
In cases where there have been out of the ordinary circumstances, let your creditors know this. For instance, if you lost your job, suffered a death in the family or something major happened in your life that caused you to miss a payment, tell them. Also make it clear if something happened that prevented you from getting your bills, such as you moved addresses or got divorced and your ex- got the statements. Creditors may be willing to waive late fees in such cases.

Next: Throw their "competition" in the conversation. >>

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