Credit Cards

If you want a lower card rate just ask

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Want to waive those credit card late fees or snare a lower interest rate? Often all you have to do is ask.

About 89 percent of credit card holders who asked for a late-fee waiver had their request granted. And 78 percent who requested a lower interest rate on balances received one, according to

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Younger card users didn't fare quite as well. Only 56 percent of millennials got the lower rates they requested, the report said. Why the difference?

"I think it's basically an issue of building a track record," said Matt Schulz,'s senior industry analyst. "In a lot of ways, loyalty doesn't really pay with a credit card, especially if you're shopping for rewards or that sort of thing."

However, "if you're a long-term customer, and you're asking for a break, that's when it can," Schulz said.

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Despite the relative ease of getting more favorable terms, only 1 in 5 card holders have tried it, the report found.

"People have way more negotiating power with their credit card issuer than they think they do," Schulz said. "The credit card market is incredibly competitive right now, and consumers should use that to their advantage."

Federal Reserve data show that consumer credit card spending is on the rise while bankruptcies and delinquencies are down. "Add it all up and banks want to lend," Schulz said.

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"Like my father used to say, you should ask. The worst thing they can say is 'no' but most of the time they're going to say 'sure'," Schulz said. He also said card holders should adjust their expectations based on their current credit history.

"If you have a 25 percent rate, don't expect to drop it down to 15, but even if you can take an interest rate in the 20s and drop it down 3, 4, 5 points, it can save you some real money," he said.