So I finally got up the stuff to start making calls.
First I called the Bank of America. This card, incidentally, started out as a Wachovia card and had excellent interest rates. Then it was sold to another bank, and then to Bank of America. Now the interest is somewhere around 27%. My payments are always on time and always more than the minimum. I did nothing to "deserve" this ridiculous interest rate.
I tried one customer service line and got voice mail options that did not include any for changing interest rate and did not include ever speaking to a real person. I tried several of the options and just went endlessly into voice mail options, none useful for my purposes. So I hung up. I found another number for them and called that. Got exactly the same thing. So I went online and sent them a message through their message form. The information on the website said they would respond within 12 hours. That was two days ago. And of course I have gotten no response. So I am nowhere with that card, yet.
Then I called citiCards. I spoke to a real person. He talked fast and with an accent I did not recognize (not Indian). He reduced my rate by ten percent, from 23.74 to 13.74%. That's a victory. At the same time I somehow signed up for credit protection that I do not want. I can't cancel it until I actually see it on a bill, and you can be sure I will cancel it then. I wish that I had a tape of that phone call because I had so much trouble understanding what was happening that I kept asking him to repeat and repeat. Ultimately I couldn't take it any more so I did not try to cancel that credit protection thing on the phone. A victory, nonetheless. A reduced rate.
I called Chase. I have two cards, one personal, one business, with Chase - both Amazon cards. For some reason I have not been getting my business statements and I had charged something a while back on it and thought that I had paid it off. Just a few days ago I learned, from a phone call, that in fact I still owed something and that it had not been paid in over 90 days. Well, that sucks. I made a payment then but of course that 90 days is bad. I also made one late payment on the personal card, a few days late, this month. My head was just not on straight and I got it done late. Because of the 90 day thing I understood that the interest rate on that card could not be reduced. But I was really irritated to learn that the personal one could not be changed either because of one payment a few days late. After years of paying on time and more than the minimum. The guy said I could try again in a couple of months. I said "sure" in a sarcastic tone and hung up. So no victory there.
I will call about my paypal card today. I forget what bank has it now - like the others, it has changed several times. I have a couple of cards that I have not used at all - Ikea and Dillards - and maybe I can get those rates reduced, but I suspect not. They probably like to see some activity first.
So far, then, one for three. I have an idea about Bank of America. These systems all seem to work the same, and most of them say you can talk to a real person by pressing zero. Even though the BofA operator does not say this I suspect it's true. So I am going to try that.