If you are a rewards credit card fanatic, annual fees can be a fact of life, but is it possible to get your credit card’s annual fee waived?
Credit card companies have to earn some money through an annual fee to offset the cost of offering awesome rewards like travel points and cash back.
But an annual fee isn’t always necessary if you have a bare-bones credit card.
If you have a credit card that charges a hefty annual fee, you may be curious about getting it waived.
While getting your credit card company to waive the fee isn’t always possible, some companies are more flexible than others. It never hurts to ask them to drop the fee, but you need to know the right way to go about it.
What Affects Getting My Credit Card’s Annual Fee Waived?
Getting your annual fee waived can be tricky. But two factors will weigh heavily into whether or not the credit card will work with you to waive the fee:
- Amount of the Annual Fee
- Your History as a Cardholder
Credit card companies are more likely to waive $100 or fewer fees. A $95 fee isn’t going to weigh heavily on a credit card issuer, so they are more likely to let it go. However, anything above that will be harder to negotiate your way out of.
Obviously, credit card issuers are more likely to let you get away with not paying fees if you’re a good customer.
This is both regarding your creditworthiness and your profitability. If you are a responsible borrower and have healthy spending habits, your credit card issuer will be more likely to waive your fee.
Credit card issuers will also want to see that you’re actually earning them money. A credit card issuer is less likely to waive your fee for a card you barely use. If you’re using the card every day and paying off your statement credit, that’s a different story altogether.
How to Get Your Credit Card’s Annual Fee Waived
Getting your credit card’s annual fee waived isn’t always easy, but it’s worth a shot.
Here are five things you can do to attempt to get your credit card’s annual fee waived:
1. Ask for a Fee Waiver
If you want to have your annual fee waived from your account, it never hurts to just ask. Call the number on the back of your card and state simply that you would like to have your annual fee waived.
Remember to always be kind and courteous. Credit card customer service agents deal with a lot of angry customers, and they will be much more likely to help you if you are pleasant and kind.
If the customer service agent is able to waive your fee, your journey ends here. If they are unable to help you, there are still other ways for you to get your annual fee waived.
2. Leverage Your Good Standing
Asking directly for a waiver doesn’t always yield results, but companies are willing to bend the rules for good customers. If you’re an active user of this credit card, this can work in your favor to secure a fee waiver.
Justify to the credit card company why you deserve to have your credit card annual fee dismissed. It would be best if you mentioned why you’re asking for the waiver and how much the credit card means to you.
If you are an everyday user or you’ve had the card for many years, this can show the credit card company that you are a customer worth keeping around.
3. Inquire about a Usage Condition
Annual fees are often used to offset the costs of issuing credit cards and earn money for credit card companies. To avoid the fee, see if the issuer might be willing to waive your fee if you agree to use your card for a specific amount.
Ask the credit card issuer if they could waive the fee if you agree to spend a certain amount of money soon, for example, $1,000 in two months. This might be worthwhile on their end because you are offering a significant amount of interchange, which helps them make up the money lost in annual fees.
It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t offer to spend this money if you don’t plan to. It’s not wise to rack up a balance you can’t pay back to avoid an annual fee. This will cost you even more and put you in bad standing with the credit card company.
4. Compare Offers
Credit card companies want to offer rewards and incentives that prevent customers from choosing a competitor’s card over theirs. It can work in your favor if you research similar credit cards and ask your credit card company to match their offers.
Compare your current credit card’s features and benefits with those of other credit cards. Note membership rewards, balance transfer offers, and any reward rates. If you tell your credit card company that you have noticed other cards offering better benefits, they may be willing to waive the fee to level the playing field.
5. Give an Ultimatum
Ultimately, credit card companies care about customer retention over all else. They don’t want to see a paying customer leave, so they are often willing to bend the rules to keep you around.
If you say that you are ready to cancel the card because of the annual fee, this may be the push they need to waive it.
Alternatives to Getting Your Credit Card’s Fee Waived
If you have trouble waiving your annual fee, don’t panic. Here are some alternatives to consider to help you get rid of your annual fee:
1. Downgrade to a Different Card
If you don’t want to pay your annual fee, you can always switch to a new card with the same provider that has a lower or no annual fee.
Switching cards is often much easier than canceling an existing card and applying for a new one with a different issuer.
However, a credit card with no annual fee will likely not include the same features of your existing card. Be sure to redeem any rewards, points, or travel miles before you make the switch.
2. Use Rewards to Offset the Fee
Credit cards with annual fees can offer rewards that make paying the annual fee worthwhile.
Before you cancel your credit card or downgrade your card to a no-fee card, see if you can use your card strategically to maximize your rewards and offset the cost of the annual fee.
You may be amazed how much you can earn back from your card by putting a little more thought into how you use it.
Best No Annual-Fee Credit Cards
Curious about which credit cards offer the best rewards credit cards without an annual fee? Here are some of the best credit cards that don’t charge an annual fee:
1. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card: For Everyday Cash Back
The ability to earn cash rewards on everyday purchases is one of the best perks that credit cards today offer.
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the best annual fee-free cards available for earning cash back on the things you purchase every day.
You don’t have to keep up with rotating categories or signing up for deals. You can earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
As if 1.5% unlimited cash back wasn’t good enough, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card also offers an introductory bonus to new card members.
When you spend $500 or more within the first three months of opening your account, you will earn a one-time $200 welcome bonus. This is an easy way to make an extra $200 to save or to spend!
2. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: For Active Military
Many credit card issuers, such as Amex and Citi, offer annual fee waivers for active or retired military and their spouses.
Chase is one of the major credit card companies that waive annual fees for all of their personal credit cards for spouses and active-duty service members. While all of their personal cards are applicable for this benefit, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of their best cards for points and discount benefits.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a pretty significant intro offer for cardholders. You will earn 60,000 bonus points (worth $750 through Chase Ultimate Rewards®) as a welcome offer when you spend $4,000 or more during the first three months of opening your account.
You can earn rewards points by purchasing travel, dining, and more on the card. When you’re ready to redeem your rewards, you will also get 25% more value when you redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards® for airline, hotels, car rentals and cruises.
3. Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®: For Travelers
While this card isn’t annual fee free (you won’t pay an annual fee for the first year), it is a travel credit card that is well worth paying the annual fee. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is an exceptional travel rewards card that earns 1 mile for every dollar spent on the card.
You will earn double for all American Airlines, gas station, and restaurant purchases.
If you spend more than $20,000 or more within a year of account opening, you will receive a $125 American Airlines flight discount.
This benefit is applicable annually, and it is a significant bonus for big spenders who love to travel. You’ll also receive a free checked bag, access to airport lounges on international flights, no foreign transaction fees, and 25% off in-flight food and beverages when you travel with American Airlines.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do credit cards charge annual fees?
Annual fees are needed to help offset the cost of rewards programs. If a rewards credit card offers cash back, travel points, or other rewards, it will typically charge an annual fee to help keep the credit card company profitable.
Will a credit card company waive interest?
Much like annual fees, credit card companies may waive interest rates on a case-by-case basis. The better relationship you have with a credit card issuer, the more likely they will be willing to waive interest charges on your credit card.
Should I get a credit card with an annual fee?
Paying an annual fee or not depends on your needs. If you are building your credit or your credit score is low, you may need to pay an annual fee in order to start building your credit score back up. You may also opt into paying an annual fee for a credit card with exceptional card benefits.
Should You Try To Get Your Credit Card’s Annual Fee Waived?
Getting your annual fee waived isn’t always possible, but it never hurts to ask.
Understanding the factors that weigh into a credit card provider’s decision to charge an annual fee can help you negotiate better terms and conditions moving forward.
You may also want to consider canceling the card and opting for a card that’s better suited for your needs.