Have You Asked Your Card Issuer to Waive Your Annual Fee? Here's Why You Should

by Christy Bieber | Published on Oct. 20, 2021

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A woman holding a credit card and making a phone call.

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There's no reason to pay a fee if you don't have to.

Credit cards with annual fees often come with very generous cardholder perks that can make them more attractive than cards without these added benefits.

Whether that's airline lounge access or extra purchase protections or better rewards programs, the value that comes from cards with annual fees can sometimes more than justify their upfront costs.

But if you have a credit card that charges you a fee for being a customer, consider giving your credit card issuer a call each year before your annual fee is charged. There's a simple reason why that makes sense.

Your card company may be willing to cut you a break

Before your annual fee is charged each year, call up customer service and ask the card company if they would be willing to waive the annual fee. This call takes just a few minutes to make, and it could end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.

See, many credit card companies are willing to waive these fees if you request it. That's especially true if you're a good customer who uses the card a lot and who always pays on time.

Credit card companies spend a lot of money to attract customers. And they make money when you use your card regularly and merchants pay fees. They often won't want to lose your business over the annual charge, so if you call and indicate you're considering moving to a different card entirely, they may be willing to cut you a deal.

Now, you may not have success in every situation by doing this. And many people who've gotten their annual fee waived have indicated that it took several phone calls before they succeeded. That's been my experience as well, as I've had to call a few times to avoid having to pay the annual fees on my cards.

But if you're persistent and try several times with some solid justification for asking for the fee to be waived, chances are good that you'll end up with a successful outcome. In most cases, asking for a fee waiver takes very little time -- even if you have to call several times before you get the right customer service representative who is willing to work with you. But since annual fees can be hundreds of dollars per year, it's definitely worth making the effort.

The savings could add up

Each year that you save on your fee, you get to keep more money in your bank account while enjoying the benefits of a credit card that comes with generous perks. Just be sure that you pay your bills on time and don't charge over the card limit or otherwise breach your credit agreement. Not only are these good practices that help your credit anyway, but they significantly increase the chances that you'll be offered a waived fee each year when you ask.

And if you decide you want to open a card that doesn't charge that fee to begin with, check out our list of the best no annual fee cards to see if there's a good fit for you.

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