You may be surprised by the ways your credit card company can make your life easier -- and help your credit score improve.
Whether you have a number of credit cards or just a single card, it's easy to regard the issuer behind it as a business rather than an ally. After all, your credit card company wants to make money -- namely, by charging you interest -- and isn't really there to help you, right? Wrong. While some card issuers offer better customer service than others, the reality is your credit card company can help you in a number of ways. Here are a few things you shouldn't hesitate to ask for.
1. A higher spending limit
A higher spending limit on your credit cards could actually help your credit score improve. One important factor that goes into calculating your score is your credit utilization ratio, which measures the amount of revolving credit you're using compared to your total spending limit across all of your cards. A ratio of under 30% can help your score, while exceeding that threshold can hurt your score.
Say you have a $10,000 spending limit across three different credit cards, and you currently owe $4,000 on those cards in total. That gives you a ratio of 40%, which isn't good. However, if you were to ask each of your credit card companies to increase your spending limit by $1,200, you'd suddenly have a total line of credit of $13,600. Your utilization ratio would then fall to just under 30%, which would help your score.
Of course, to qualify for a higher spending limit, you may need to meet certain criteria. For example, you'll likely need to have a high enough income and have an account in good standing where you're current on your payments. But if you can tick off those boxes, there's a good chance your credit card issuers will grant you more leeway.
2. A different due date for your payments
Have you ever found yourself bemoaning that your monthly credit card bill is due on the 14th of the month but your paycheck doesn't come in until the 15th? If so, there's no need to struggle with an ongoing cash crunch. Instead, ask your credit card company to move your monthly due date by a few days. Most issuers won't have a problem with this request, especially if it increases their likelihood of getting paid on time.
3. A waived late fee if it's your first offense
A late credit card payment isn't just bad for your credit score -- it can also cost you money in the form of a late fee. If you're a repeat offender in this regard, don't expect much leeway from your credit card issuers when you fail to make payments promptly. But if this is the first time you haven't paid your bill on time, contact your issuer and ask to have the late fee waived. This especially holds true if you simply forgot to make that payment by its due date but have the funds to process it immediately.
Your credit card companies can help you in more ways than one, so think about how yours can make your life easier. As long as you're a trusted borrower with an account that's free of red flags or delinquencies, you should expect some amount of flexibility from your credit card issuers -- you may just need to reach out and ask for it.
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