How to get your bank to waive your credit card annual fee

As a financial writer, I’m always looking for opportunities to save money. Some of the techniques require more work than others. But there’s one really simple step I take every year that saves me $95: I call my credit card company and ask it to waive my annual fee.

See, a few years ago, I signed up for a credit card with a $95 annual fee. I did this after years of shying away from cards that charge me to be a customer. However, with generous rewards and perks I knew I’d use, the fee was justified.

But just because I get value from the card, doesn’t mean I want to pay the fee. In fact, I’d rather keep that $95 in my pocket. That’s why I call my card issuer every year before the card renews to ask if it will waive the annual fee. It’s always worked, which means a five-minute phone call saves me close to $100.

Calling to ask for an annual fee waiver is well worth it

Credit card companies are often more than willing to waive an annual fee, but you have to ask them to do it. To make sure I don’t miss out on the chance to save $95, I set up a calendar reminder so I can call before the card renews.

When I call, I’m also prepared and ready with solid justification for why the card company shouldn’t charge me this fee. After all, I knew what the card would cost when I signed up, so there needs to be a good reason why the card issuer shouldn’t impose the fee I agreed to pay.

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Generally, I remind the card company of how many purchases I’ve made over the course of the past year. Since I use this card for almost everything, I spend a lot of money on it. The card company makes plenty of fees from my purchases, so they’re unlikely to want to lose my business over the $95 fee.

I also take a look at offers on similar credit cards with good perks. I don’t threaten to cancel the card since I wouldn’t want to follow through with it. But I do point out that other card companies are competing for my business and that I have options.

After explaining the reasons behind why I want the fee waived, I nicely and politely ask the customer service representative what they can do. There’s only one time this hasn’t been successful. That time, I simply called again a few days later to repeat my request. A different representative took action and waived the fee even when the first one had refused.

Saving $95 in exchange for a brief phone call provides a great hourly rate. There’s a good return on my investment for taking the time to do it. If you pay an annual credit card fee, it’s worth calling to see if you can get your fee waived too.

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