Last time I wrote about saying goodbye to my Discover card because they were increasing the rate on that card and I could not afford to keep it open on those terms.
Now this is after I recently got the rate dropped in December a little bit and I was feeling better about my finances. I was really upset and told them to go ahead and close the account because it meant I could pay the card down at my then current terms.
I am now getting a letter in the mail saying I can reopen the card within 90 days of the closing request. This is a shock to me because usually they will just say they are sorry you chose to close your account. Now I have had this card for a LOOOOOONG time and I have been a good customer to Discover. I have been carrying a balance (good for them, bad for me) and I always pay my card on time each month. I even pay more than the minimum (gasp!) and I sometimes pay a few days early (gasp louder) and in moments of madness I have paid twice in one month (oh behave!!!!!).
I had called customer service a few days after canceling the card to find out what the deal was. I was then informed that I had misinterpreted the information (ooooh I guess I can’t read now…need help!) and that the rate
hike increase was only going to take effect if I defaulted on the payments. Well since I have carefully budgeted for a little more than the minimum and I still get paper statements even though I have everything set up electronically I think I have that under control (barring any unusual activity).
The letter then went on to tout all the benefits I would be missing by ‘not taking advantage of the opportunity to reopen’ the card. The only thing I could think of (which was not one of the benefits listed) was that by keeping the card open I would be helping my credit score.
I would be able to keep the current terms and pay off the card and not hurt my credit score by closing a very old account so I said I would cancel the closing request.
I called customer service and said I wanted to reopen the account because I had made a mistake in closing it because of the rate change. The rep proceeded to explain to me (again) what the terms meant and I blushed at the thought of him probably thinking I was some kind of idiot.
Then a (compact fluorescent) light bulb went off in the dim recesses of my mind…….and I asked for a rate reduction. I slipped it in at the end of something that went a little bit like this:
I really loved this card and it is one of my oldest and it is soooooooooooo easy to use and I did not really want to close it but the rate would just be killing me and it has a dolphin design and it is the only card I have with a dolphin and that is why I did not shred it when I closed the account because the dolphin is so cute and is there anything you can do about the rate if I keep the card open?
Take a deep breath and wait for his response.
The rep said he would see what they could do and put me on hold for about a minute. When he returned he said he could only lower the rate to 17.99%. I said that was fine because it was still lower than 23% and then 20.99% so I kept the card open and I now have a lower APR combined with some balance transfers at 5.99% so I am pleased with the outcome.
So the moral of the story is….Sometimes it pays to be a money dummy who makes a mistake because it just may save money by getting your interest rate decreased by three points.