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I've been a good customer with Discover for a number of years. Over that period, they've increased my limit and I've always paid on time, in full. Is it unreasonable to request a higher cash back rate to make their card more competitive with other cards? For example, I have the Amazon Visa card which gives me 2% and 3% cash back on gas stations and Amazon purchases respectively. Is it likely that Discover would increase my cash back rate for specific categories (say, gasoline purchases) to better compete with the other lenders I use?

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    a good customer to them is one who they make money from, not one who pays on time – JamesRyan Sep 5 '14 at 14:48
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    @JamesRyan They make a lot of money in interest from customers who carry a balance. But from me, they make money several ways, including: 1) Very little interaction with me by their customer service. They're not having to check up on me to ensure I pay my bill 2) The risk of me not paying them back is, given my history, very low. 3) Every time I use my Discover card, they make money, with virtually no effort on their part. All of these compound with the fact that it's much more cost effective to retain a customer than to generate a new one. – FreeAsInBeer Sep 5 '14 at 14:58
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    it isn't me you need to convince :) – JamesRyan Sep 5 '14 at 15:35
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    Sure, I don't carry a balance, but at 2% on each purchase, I make them maybe $40/month, every month (about half of which they pay to me in the form of cash back). Doesn't sound like much (and that's on a couple thousand dollars), but what about the customers that have $15,000 in debt then declare bankruptcy? It would take hundreds of customers like me to make up for that one single customer that defaulted on their debt obligation. – FreeAsInBeer Sep 5 '14 at 18:34
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    I believe you can request anything you want. Whether or not they honor your request is something different. – DA. Sep 5 '14 at 19:24
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You can always ask, but it's unlikely. They probably aren't set up to tune the cashback rates per customer.

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    I've had some success with a Wells Fargo Visa card. I called them to cancel my card because I didn't get much in the way of rewards, and they gave me 1% cashback for a couple of months; in the meanwhile, I signed up for other cards that gave me better rewards. – Jay Sep 6 '14 at 11:29
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The only way to change your cashback rewards is to change your card product type.

Discover's cashback rates are determined by the card product you're using. Discover's 2 main consumer cards are the Discover It card and the Discover Now card. Cashback rates are fixed on each card product because the merchant fees are fixed by card product and POS entry method (This is true for other card networks, too).

For example: If you do a swipe and sign (card present) transaction, the fee for the merchant might be different than that same merchant taking your card number over the phone (card not present) for the transaction.

  • Source: I work for a credit card processing company – Noah Sep 5 '14 at 16:14
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You would be more likely to ask for additional "points" for being a loyal customer, unconnected to an individual transaction.

I have never heard of a custom cash-back rate before, but I have heard of people calling and asking for (and getting) an extra 10,000 miles because of their loyalty/spending/etc. This will vary based on card, the representative you get, and your card history.

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    Do you think this would work on my card, which gives me cash back options instead of miles? I ask because I assume they have a deal with airlines and get discounted rates on the airline trips purchased with miles, whereas points directly affect their bottom line, dollar for dollar. – FreeAsInBeer Sep 5 '14 at 18:37
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    They may give you less dollars than miles because of that. It's common for cards to wave annual fees of $49-$69 dollars. I wouldn't expect more than that. – Alex B Sep 5 '14 at 18:45
  • Fortunately, my Discover card has no annual fee, so I may be out of luck. – FreeAsInBeer Sep 5 '14 at 18:51
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You could always call them and ask. The worst they can do is say "no". It's not likely they're going to send people to your house to beat you up for daring to ask. It would be just as easy to call Discover and ask as to ask here.

That said, I'm guessing the answer is "no". Big companies like Discover aren't likely to make a custom credit card agreement for one customer -- not unless you're a billionaire, anyway. The only chance I'd see is if they have a different class of card that they regularly offer to other people, and if you call and ask they'll offer one to you.

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