By Jim Donovan

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Are high credit card interest rates and late fees taking a bite out of your budget? Well, relief may be just a phone call away.

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3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has information on a new survey that shows that most people can get their rates lowered and fees dropped, but very few of them ask.

A report finds that nearly nine out of 10 credit cardholders who asked their card issuers to waive a late fee were successful, yet only 28% bothered to ask! Also, about two-thirds of cardholders who asked for a lower interest rate were approved, yet only 23% of consumers ever request a lower rate.

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“If you carry a lot of credit card debt, lowering that interest rate can save you hundreds of dollars, if not more,” explains Matt Shulz, senior industry analyst.

He believes that the days of banks competing for your business have returned. According to Shulz, “People are starting to spend after the recession. Banks are getting more willing to give out credit, people are paying their bills on time, so it makes it kind of this perfect storm of super-competiveness to where it’s a really good time to ask for these sorts of things.”

Not all requests will be successful, however. Higher-income households were much more likely to receive lower interest rates and late fee waivers. In addition, the age of the card holder also played a big role. Just 33% of 18-29 year-olds were granted their requests, but that percentage jumped to 59% of 30-49 year-olds and 79% of 50-64 year-olds.

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