NEW YORK (MainStreet) — We’ve reported before that credit card annual percentage rates (APRs) aren’t as set in stone as you think, since issuers have been known to lower rates if a customer calls them up to negotiate. Here’s what you should say if you decide to make the call.

“My credit score deserves better.”

Most credit cards advertise an APR range that varies depending on a person’s credit score, and you’ll receive a concrete interest rate after you are approved for the card. Customers who are unhappy once they officially learn where they fall on the APR spectrum can call up their issuer and argue that their score deserves a better rate. This call could lead to a lower rate, but if it doesn’t, you can call again once you’ve demonstrated a stellar payment history with the issuer in question.   

“I have a better offer from another issuer.”

If you’re dissatisfied with your card’s APR, it’s a good idea to start mining your mailbox for credit card solicitations. Lower APR offers can be used as leverage when you call up your current issuer to ask them to adjust your existing rate. For instance, you could say: “My interest rate is currently 18.5%, but your competitor is advertising rates between 14% and 16%.”

You could also use other cards already in your arsenal to negotiate a better rate. You might want to say that you plan to use a different card to make purchases since the rate is 2% lower than the one on theirs. The odds are good that the issuer in question will lower the APR to beat the better offer. 

“I’m closing my card.”

If a subtle nod to taking your business elsewhere doesn’t work, you can try a direct approach. Keep in mind, though, that it’s still a good idea to have another offer lined up should you actually wind up closing the card. This will prevent your credit utilization ratio from being affected and your credit score from taking an unnecessary hit as a result.

Calling up an issuer to ask for better terms and conditions on your credit card contract isn’t the only way to save money through negotiation. For more tips, check out the MainStreet roundup 8 Phone Calls that Will Save You Money.

—Jeanine Skowronski is staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach her by email at, or follow her on Twitter at @JeanineSko.