When Is the Right Time to Dump Your Credit Card Provider?February 28, 2011 - 8:12 am
You hear all the time about the great offers provided by credit card companies other than your own and it can be tempting to want to apply for a new card. A rule of thumb for credit cards, you should not haphazardly apply for new cards. You should be very selective in your process of choosing them and only go with the offers that are conducive to your lifestyle.
However, there may come a time when other credit card providers are offering incentives that your creditor is not. It may be time then to consider a change but first you should take these steps:
Negotiating With Your Credit Card Company
It may be worth your while to try a little negotiating with your present credit card company. However, you should only attempt such a negotiation if you are a long-standing customer with an excellent payment history with the provider. In other words, don’t expect your provider to bend over backwards for you if you have trouble keeping up with the terms of your agreement.
Here are some tips for successful negotiation:
Compare and Convince
Gather information about the appealing offers being promoted by other credit card companies. Write down the specifics of what you’d like to have access to with your current card. Select a few incentives to deal with as you likely will not be granted a whole list of things you want. Then make contact with your provider. Be polite but firm in expressing your unhappiness with the lack of incentives and be direct in asking for you want. Try to convince the provider that your loyalty is worth some changes.
Don’t Make Empty Threats
Essentially, you have to come to the negotiation table ready to make good on the promises you make to take your business elsewhere. If your credit card provider is not willing to compromise in any way, you should threaten to go to another credit card company and mean what you say. This may motivate your card company to grant your wishes. However, they make also refuse to comply and you should be ready to apply for another credit card.
To Close or Not to Close
If you ultimately decide to go with a new provider, it is important that you understand how closing a credit card account can affect your credit score. If the card being issued by the company you no longer want to deal with is your longest running account, it is in your best interest to keep the account open and active. You can use your new credit card for the bulk of your purchases to take advantage of the better incentives but make a point of using your old card a few times a month for small purchases and pay off the balance at the end of each billing cycle to keep the card active. Closing the account can drop your credit score. If you have several other cards opened only for a short period of time, you can opt to close them one at a time provided all balances are paid in full.
Look closely at all the terms and conditions of a new credit card offer before switching from your old credit card company if negotiations don’t work. You can certainly benefit from a variety of cards that cater to your current lifestyle if your old credit card no longer seems to be making the cut.