One member has noticed that many credit card companies are more than willing to waive their annual card fees for long-term customers if they think the customer might cancel the card. This member has not paid an annual fee on any of their current credit cards. Some of their cards are fee-free for life, while the fee on other cards has been waived just by threatening to cancel the card.
I currently have 3 credit cards that I have held for more than a year. For all of these cards I no longer pay any annual fee because it is either fee-free for life, or I have been offered a waiver of the annual fee when threatening to cancel. I would have thought a few years ago fee waivers would be fairly rare… it seems like credit card providers are willing to throw a lot more at you to keep you as a customer.
With ever increasing competition in the credit card market, it would seem that banks are now more willing than ever to waive the annual fee if it means retaining a customer. As the old saying goes, it’s much easier to retain existing customers than to find new ones. Most banks offer significant amounts of bonus points to new customers, so it only seems right that they would also want to look after their current ones.
Our members have found that by calling up the bank to cancel the card, the representative will in many cases offer to waive the annual fee for the following year in an attempt to keep the customer.
With the annual fee due again soon, I called up today to close the Premium / Platinum version, and they offered to waive the fee.
Results vary from bank to bank. Some credit card providers will not waive annual fees under any circumstances. If that’s the case, then you may have no choice but to either pay the fee or cancel the card. But others are more lenient. Often the representative on the phone has discretion to make a decision.
There are some potential catches involved in avoiding the annual fee. If your credit comes with freebies such as free flights or insurance, the bank may remove these benefits in exchange for waiving or reducing the fee. So while you may be able to save a few hundred dollars, you could also miss out on free flights or other benefits.
Nonetheless, if you’re paying an annual fee on your credit card, calling up and threatening to cancel may just save you some money. You’ll never know until you try!
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