If you have a credit card with an annual membership fee, keep reading!
In a 2017 study, Experian found that the average American has 3.1 credit cards. In Experian’s 2019 Consumer Credit Review, they also found that “credit card debt is the second-fastest-growing debt behind personal loans”.
In 2019, the average American held $6,194 in credit card debt, a 3% increase from 2018.
Annual fees are applied to your credit card balance 1x per year, which increases your credit card debt. A credit card annual fee is the price you pay each year in order to reap the benefits and rewards of the card. Annual fees can range anywhere from $0 to over $550.
Here I’m laying out the three credit cards I currently have.
- Card A – $95 annual fee (Travel points card)
- Card B – $95 annual fee (Food and entertainment cash back card)
- Card C – $0 annual fee (Expands my credit limit & only had to make the $35 minimum payment for the first year)
I checked when the annual fee would hit my card and called the credit card company prior to receiving the charge. The representative said to call back after the fee hit and they’d see what they could do. I’ve never missed a minimum payment and if I carry a balance, it’s less than 3% of my available credit. I also have a credit score of 766, which can help with negotiating.
A month later I called back after the $95 annual fee hit my card and said “Hi, I called last month about seeing how you could help me with the annual fee so I just wanted to follow-up”. After 2-5 minutes, the representative said they could credit my account back $50. So now my annual fee is $35 for 2020.
For this card I checked in my account settings online to see when the annual fee would hit. The fee for this card hits sometime in March. Next, I called the credit card company and inquired about other credit cards they offer so I could compare offers. If the company wasn’t able to reduce my fee, they could move my same available credit limit to a card with no annual fee and I wouldn’t get a ding to my credit score by just closing a card.
I checked my credit card balance this morning, March 4th, and saw the $95 annual fee had hit. I called the credit card company and used the same talk track as Card A: “Hi, I called last month about seeing how you could help me with the annual fee so I just wanted to follow-up”. Within 1 minute, the representative had an answer:
“I’m happy to tell you that we’ve been able to credit your account back the full $95 so your annual fee for this year is $0”.
And that was it! Taking the 5-10 minutes to call these two credit card companies helped me save $145.
If you’re interested in learning more about reducing your annual fees or about lowering your current APR, please let me know in the comments!