I almost never call a CCC to ask about a CLI or APR just because I know I likely ain't gonna get the answer I want over the phone. If my original request is denied, then I hit 'em up with a recon request.
Recons are viewed by a human, and that's where you can put psychology to work. Alternatively, you could make your request for a CLI or APR reduction in writing or via Email, and you could put psychology to work there as well.
I think if you're at or under 50% util, then you have some leverage and it's worth asking. If you can pay your CC debt down even more, so much the better. But don't feel compelled to wait. If you can get under 50%, it's time to ask for some Luv. Obviously it's going to depend upon your credit past with the CCC, and results will vary from one CCC to the next.
I've recently been pounding away at my CCCs and I got a CLI and APR reduction outta my State Farm CC. They are tighter than an IRS agent's rectum--or so it seemed. I think I was around 40-50% util when I got the Luv, but have since pulled it down into 1-9 range. All depends on the lender. Wells Fargo CC OTOH has been a beast. Won't give me ANYTHING and my util is in the 1-9 range.
If you appear to be ticked off and angry when you write or Email, they probably aren't going to give you what you want. That's another reason why I don't call. No sense risking a smart aleck remark, and I've been known to toss those around.
You want them to believe you are calm, cool, collected, and rational. If they think you are smiling and happy, then they might get nervous. After all, who's happy talking to their creditors? Someone who can drop them and go elsewhere, that's who.
We're not talking drunk happy or high on LSD happy. It's a quiet, devious, I'll-kill-you-while-you-sleep-and-smile-the-whole-time happy.
If you have been in the 80-90% util range for a while, then suddenly the debt is paid down, either all at once or in payments, to 50-60% util, the CCC is going to get a little curious. If you then ask for a CLI or APR reduction, they might get a little nervous and wonder whether you read a book, attended a seminar, or found a credit forum.
FICO places people into pools when scoring them. Human beings do this whether they realize it or not. We make value judgments about people based on what they say, how they say it, how they dress, and a million other things. A letter or Email is color blind, so what you say and how you say it are the weapons you wield to your advantage.
If you're angry when you write or Email, then anger is going to shine through. Make a first draft, then set it aside until you're mellowed out. Polite, firm professionalism.
When something changes about a person, we notice. Good or bad. If a person is always upbeat, then suddenly is a bit down, we notice. If a person is gloomy and down, then suddenly becomes more upbeat, we notice that too.
Change in behavior is brought about often because of a change in one's circumstances. A change in credit behavior could be the result of a change in one's monetary circumstances or one's attitudes toward and about money. Paying your CC down from 90% util to 60% util could show change to a person reviewing your recon request. Something in your communication should also spell it out for them. The specific terms should be veiled, but the direction should be clear.
"Despite my less than ideal credit past, I am committed to paying down my credit card debt."
Don't go on for 3 paragraphs talking about your parents and your childhood, touch on your faults, and give them the new you.
Don't be overly specific. "I'll be repaying 10% more per month until utilization is below 30%." Warning, warning, pinheaded geek alert.
You might have to ask a couple of times. Pay the CC to 50%, then ask. If the answer is no, pay it down to 35%, then ask again. Still no? How about 20%? Push comes to shove, you might have to sock drawer the CC and let 'em stew.