NEW YORK (CBS) Just picking up the phone may help you save a lot on your credit card bill.
"Really what it comes down to is what my dad likes to say which is that it never hurts to ask because the worst thing that can happen is they'll say no, but if they say yes, really good things can happen," said Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst with CreditCards.com.
A new survey from CreditCards.com finds 85 percent of cardholders received a higher credit limit when they asked, 84 percent were able to get a late fee waiver, 70 percent were successful having their annual fee lowered or eliminated and 56 percent got lower interest rates.
"The reason why people are able to ask so successfully is that the credit card marketplace is incredibly competitive," Schulz said. "That competition and people's spending is making banks bend over backward to keep their customers and to attract new ones."
Schulz says getting an interest rate lowered even a half a percentage point can have a big impact on someone with a lot of debt.
"Far too few people ask for these breaks," Schulz said. "We asked people why they don't ask and the two most common reasons were I didn't know I could and I didn't think it would be successful."
The likelihood of being approved increases with education and income levels, but the data from this survey shows consumers don't have to have perfect credit to negotiate with their credit card companies.
While this survey indicates an overall win for consumers, higher credit limits could be a pathway to more debt for those that use increased spending power to buy things they won't be able to pay off.