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I opened a credit card a few years ago and have been making full on-time payments the entire time (it's never carried a balance).

I logged into my bank today and there was a page that said I have been offered a lower rate on my credit card. Weirdly, there was an option to decline the lower rate. Is there a reason to do this? The only thing I could think of is that somehow my overall credit to rate ratio would be lowered, but I can't imagine that would be a bad thing. Why would I have the option to decline?

8

A reason (the only reason?) to decline would be that you do not agree to the terms.

In order to have the credit card in the first place, you have a contract with the bank that spells out the specific terms of your arrangement, which includes defining the interest rate. Changes to this contract require agreement by all parties involved (it's possible the contract could specify that the bank is allowed to change the interest rate at any time, but then changing the rate would not be a change to the contract).

It's possible (although not a given), that this offer has some strings attached in the fine print that benefit the bank. This would make sense; the bank is giving you something of value (lower interest rate), and would expect to get something of value in return (new/higher fees, shorter/no grace period before charging interest, changes to any rewards, permission to sell your information to advertising partners, etc.). Make sure to read the fine print to see what exactly you have to agree to in exchange for the lower rate. If (like many users of this site will strongly advise) you pay off your balance before you ever accrue any interest, the lower rate may not be worth it.

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  • 2
    "this offer has some strings attached in the fine print". Exactly. TANSTAAFL. – RonJohn Nov 6 '19 at 21:29
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    By your answer a customer would also have to approve rate increases. – quid Nov 6 '19 at 22:20
  • @quid Continuing to hold the balance is considered to be approving the rate increase. – Acccumulation Nov 7 '19 at 0:50
  • @quid it also says that a changing interest rate may already be agreed to – yoozer8 Nov 7 '19 at 1:12
  • @Acccumulation, the question is "why does the rate decrease need approval." This answer says the contract can't be amended without both parties consenting. I agree that simply continuing to use the card is considered approval, but you're just agreeing with me. If I can give consent of a rate increase by simply continuing to use the card, why can't I approve a rate decrease by simply continuing to use the card? – quid Nov 7 '19 at 2:08
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Generally, contracts cannot be changed one-sided, even if it's to your benefit.
it's very similar to if I wanted to gift you $100, without strings attached - you still need to accept them.
(and no, I don't want to)

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