Sometimes all it takes to get a better deal is to request one.
By negotiating — with your credit card issuer, your employer, and even your cable provider — you can lower your expenses and boost your earnings. "People can be really surprised at how often someone can pick up the phone and ask [for] something from their credit card issuer, and the issuer will say yes," Matt Schulz, a credit card industry analyst at CompareCards.com told Grow earlier this year.
And even if the amount you get seems small, it's still a win: You can use whatever you save or earn to invest in yourself by building an emergency fund or paying down debt.
In other words, if you're not negotiating, you might be leaving money on the table in several situations. Here are three ways experts say it's possible to get a better deal by asking for one.
The average maximum late fee for a lapsed credit card bill is about $36, according to a 2019 Credit Card Fee Study from U.S. News & World Report. Usually, card providers offer a grace period, but you'll get hit with a late fee after 21 days or more without making a payment.
If you call your credit card provider and ask to speak with a customer service representative, there's a good chance you'll get the fee waived, especially if it's your first time making such a request. Nearly 90% of cardholders in the past year were able to negotiate waiving a late fee, according to an April 2019 CompareCards.com survey.
Your annual percentage rate (APR) may also be negotiable: In the past year, more than 80% of cardholders who asked for a reduced APR were successful in lowering their interest rate by 6 percentage points, on average, according to the CompareCards.com survey.
Because your credit score is one of the main factors in determining your interest rate, having good credit can give you leverage when negotiating that rate. With a credit score in the 700s and above, "you're in a pretty good place," Schulz told Grow earlier this year.
When you're offered a new job, you may get a signing bonus, which is an incentive a company offers to entice you to accept. Last year, 23% of employers offered signing bonuses as part of nonexecutive job packages.
Though signing bonuses are frequently offered to executives, you can score one even if you don't work high up in the corporate world. The easiest way to see if you can get a bonus is by simply asking if one is offered. When negotiating, ask for a bonus equivalent to "5% to 10% of your base salary," Shannon Compton Game, a California-based certified financial planner, told Grow earlier this year.
For example, if your next job offers you $60,000 and you ask for a 10% signing bonus, you could earn an additional $6,000. Depending on your field, some employers offer signing bonuses for as much as $20,000 to new candidates, according to a Glassdoor report from earlier this year.
The average cable bill costs $107 per month, and more than 1.5 million people have parted ways with their cable providers in 2019 so far, according to a new report by the Leichtman Research Group. At a time when so many consumers are cutting the cord, you may have more leverage to get a lower cable bill in one phone call.
The first thing you should do before picking up the phone to negotiate your cable bill is have competing rates from other companies in hand. You should also review your bill for any unexplained increases in your plan or expired introductory offers.
Then, in a friendly but firm tone, say you're interested in canceling your subscription because it is too pricey. If you're not immediately transferred to the retention department, ask to speak to them, since it's Retention's job to keep you as a customer. After presenting competitor's rates, you can negotiate a better deal — you may get up to $55 off your monthly bill on the spot, or about half of the average monthly cost, for example.
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