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If you’re serious about earning rewards for your credit card spending, you’re probably carrying a piece of plastic in your wallet that comes with an annual fee. Each year, that pesky additional charge shows up on your statement. Sure, you love the reward points, elite status, travel protection and other perks included with the card, but you’ve probably wondered whether it’s worth it to pay the additional cost. Now, there’s good news from a new survey conducted by CreditCards.com: You might be able to escape the fee. The trick? Just ask.
Of the surveyed cardholders who contacted their card issuers to ask for some annual fee relief, 51% managed to get their annual fees waived, and another 31% had their fees reduced. However, the vast majority of customers are missing out on the golden opportunities. The study showed that only 11% of people with credit cards ask for annual fee assistance. Translation: You might want to call your bank today to see if you can save some quick cash.
Who’s Qualifying for the Fee Reductions?
If you’re earning more cash, you’re more likely to catch a break from your bank. The survey showed that people with incomes above $75,000 per year had more success with getting their annual fees waived. That makes sense; cardholders who earn more are probably spending more on their cards, and they’re helping banks rake in more interchange fees with all their transactions.
Now, I don’t expect cardholders to get a completely free pass for some of the top rewards credit cards. The sign-up bonuses and increased earnings potential can be very costly for banks. For banks, the recurring annual fees help them recoup those expenses and eventually turn a profit on these cards. Nevertheless, the survey findings shows that a simple phone call may be able to make a difference and slash a few bucks from a $450 annual fee.
For cards with smaller fees like $85 or $95 per year, you may be able to convince the representative on the other end of the phone of why you shouldn’t have to pay it. For example, if you’re using a hotel-branded card make sure you articulate how much you’re spending on staying at the properties throughout the year. Show them you’re valuable, and they’ll want to keep you around.
Banks Are Willing to Make More Bargains
Annual fees aren’t the only item that you might be able to kiss goodbye. The study revealed that cardholders who asked for lower interest rates were successful 69% of the time, and those who requested a waiver for a late payment fee reported an 87% success rate. While I was surprised to see so many customers finding friendly responses from their banks, one survey finding didn’t shock me at all: Banks are more than happy to give you the ability to spend more. Customers who asked for credit limit increases were successful 89% of the time.
Have you ever asked for some forgiveness with your annual fees? What about a request for lower interest rates? Share your tips for success in the comments section below.
Featured image courtesy of kizilkayaphotos via Getty Images.