Most banks offer credit cards with the “$0 annual fee for the first year” to attract customers. In most cases, It would make sense to signup for credit cards because of the huge signup bonus offers. In no time, year passes by and its time for the annual fee, so how to get your credit card annual fee waived??
No one wants to pay annual fee, especially when there are no/minimum benefits associated with paying the fee. Here are some tips for you to consider when your credit card annual fee is due
1. Evaluate the Credit card benefits
Some Credit cards like Chase IHG Credit card , Marriott Rewards Credit card etc… offer free night on account anniversary with out any tags. It makes sense to keep these cards open as the benefits certainly outweighs the annual fee
You should account the benefits of Amex offers during the evaluation of Amex Credit card annual fees
Some Credit cards offer free checked baggage benefit, bonus miles on account anniversary which could offset of the annual fee.
Evaluate the card benefits and determine how much you value and would pay for these benefits every year. This is important as the card may be worth keeping, even if you get a partial refund of the annual fee.
2. Call the card issuer
Even if you decided to keep the card open , you may call the card issuer and explain that you are debating whether to cancel the card or keep it open because of the high annual fee.
Since all agents are trained to mention the great benefits of the card, you may consider mentioning a few short falls like
I already have a card from another bank which offers similar benefits. (lounge access)
This credit card has foreign transaction fees limiting my ability to full utilize the card.
This Credit card is not widely accepted (Amex cards)
Express dissatisfaction about any recent devaluation
What kind of retention offers can you get?
Each bank operates differently when a customer wants to cancel a card, most banks have some sort of retention department to retain the customer.
Offers may include, but not limited to
- Annual fee waiver
- Statement credits (Spend $XXX and get a $YY statement credit)
- Bonus points (One time bonus of XXXX points)
- Spend bonus (spend X dollars get Y points)
- Lower APR
- Lounge passes
- Free nights
If you are not fully satisfied with the offer given to you, you may ask if there is any better offer. You may also consider calling again if you were not given any offer.
Things you should know
- You can get retention offers for no annual fee cards also
- Sometimes you have to confidently say your intention to cancel the card, before any offers can be given
- Some times you get better results after the annual fee is posted (you usually have at least 30 days to cancel the card and get the full annual fee refunded)
- In few cases, it may make sense to cancel the card so you can get another signup bonus in the future
- Make sure to transfer your points before cancelling the card. (For example, you will loose Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards when you cancel your card)
- If this is your card with the longest history in your credit profile, you should consider downgrading to a “No annual fee” card before cancelling the card (You may not be eligible for the signup bonus for the card you downgrade to)
When the Credit card annual fee is due, evaluate the benefits offered by the card and determine if this is a card to keep. Even if you decided to keep the card open, you should call the card issuer and express your concern about the fee and request annual fee waiver or bonus points.
It is important to be courteous during the call, always greet the agent and thank them for helping you out.
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