The Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) did a study where volunteer cardholders attempted to convince their credit card companies to lower their interest rates.
One interesting finding is that “With one 5-minute phone call, 56 percent of consumers who called their credit card company lowered their APRs.”
However, the incentive for the credit card companies to lower the APRs of these cardholders was competing card offers and the potential of a balance transfer to that other card (losing their customer’s business, in other words).
It appears the credit card companies do not care much about financial, family or other hardships. If you want them to lower your APR, the best chance you have is presenting them with the potential of you moving all of your balance to another company’s credit card at a lower APR.
If you do not have any offers, you can find some online at:
It may take more than one call, and you may need to escalate the conversation to a supervisor. However, when you speak with the company, remember to remain calm (no matter how stupid their excuses are) and polite.
However, if you have an offer to transfer a balance to another card, and your credit card company will not budge after several attempts to ask them for a lower APR, think seriously about taking advantage of the balance transfer offer. It may save you some money and help with your cash-flow issues.
However, read the new contract very carefully to make sure there are no Universal Default clause (allowing them to raise your interest rate if you are late paying ANY credit account). You will also need to see if there are any balance transfer fees (sometimes balance transfer fees can negate some of the benefit of the lower APR). When you shop around for a balance transfer offer, look out for these issues (Universal Default, balance transfer fees and other terms).
Another consideration is that the card company may assign different APRs for the balance transfer portion of your principal and the portion of your principal to which you charge purchases. Be sure to understand these terms and their differences (especially if you plan to use this card for future purchases).
Also, if the current card (the one not wanting to lower your APR) is an old account, you may not want to close it after you transfer the balance (if you end up transferring the balance). The age of open credit accounts reflects positively on your credit report, so closing an old credit account could negatively affect your credit score.
However, late payments reflect more harshly, so your credit score (if your credit score is even a concern right now) may already be damaged from previous late payments (which may make it difficult to get a really good balance transfer offer, but you may still be able to get an offer for an APR lower than your current APR that could still save you some money and improve your cashflow problem).
I hope this helps and I hope your child gets well.