For about a month now I’ve had a Post-It Note on my desk telling myself to call up Providian and see if I can get a lower APR on my Visa that I have through them. At some point a while back my year-long introductory APR ended and I started on the not-so-nice higher APR. This was something like 13.5% variable. It was this high because I was recently out of college when I got the card and my credit score was around 45 points lower than it is now – at least this is why I think it was that high.
Anywho, I finally got around to calling them up to see what I could do about the high APR. After about 5 minutes of getting lost in their automated phone service, I finally get a real person. I asked if there was someone I could talk to about getting my APR lowered. She informed me that Providian does a periodic three month audit of your account and automatically offers you a higher limit or a lowered APR if it’s applicable. She also informed me that there was nothing on my account that indicated I had an offer for a lowered APR.
That’s all well and good. In fact I can vouch for this system because about four months ago my limit increased 1300 dollars without me calling and asking for it.
My issue was that I wanted it lowered now, I didn’t want to have to wait until they were nice enough to simply grant me a lowered APR. So, I asked her if I could talk to someone about getting it lowered. She put me on hold, talked to her supervisor (I assume), and then said that there was, in fact, an offer for a lowered APR on my account. She then transfered me to whatever department it is that handles that sort of thing.
I get transfered to a very vibrant lady who is nice enough to explain everything to me. She said I have 2 offers. One, I could take a fixed 11% APR. Two, I could take a three month fixed 1.5% APR teaser, then afterwards a fixed 11% APR. Seems like a no-brainer to me; I obviously took the latter.
However, that’s not quite the end of the story. I did learn something else from this phone call thanks to my very forthcoming contact on the other end of the phone. After I mentioned that the 11% was still above what I wanted to pay, she told me to simply call back after the three month teaser was over. She explained that there is a very good chance I could get it lowered more after that. In fact, she advises people to call their credit card company every 5-6 weeks to see if there are any offers for either a higher limit or a lower APR. Interesting, I learned something new.
So, my recomendation: Call your credit card companies and see what they can do for you, specifically, Providian. I can honestly say, despite the higher APR I had/will have three months from now, Providian is my favorite credit card. They gave me my highest limit on any of my cards and they have a free credit score that they give to you every month. That cost alone would make up for the extra money I pay in interest each month.