Here’s how I negotiated out of bank fees — part 2

May 29th, 2007 - 86 Comments

Here’s how I negotiated out of a $20 overdraft fee and a $27.10 finance charge from Wells Fargo.

I accidentally overdrafted a couple weeks ago (overdrafting is when you don’t have enough money in your checking account to pay off your bills, so your bank helpfully transfers money from your savings or credit-card account. They also helpfully charge you $15-$30 for the service, wiping out all your interest for the year).

I had transferred money from my savings account to checking account to cover a temporary shortage, and the transfer arrived one day late. I saw the overdraft fee, sighed, and called the bank up to get it waived.

Can you negotiate bank fees? Yes, you can – and here’s how

This is how it went last time I called my bank to negotiate fees.

This time, I had a feeling they would be less than happy to waive my fees, but with a little coaxing…

Ramit: “Hi, I just saw this bank charge for overdrafting and I’d like to have it waived.”
Bank rep: “I see that fee…hmm…let me just see here. Unfortunately, sir, we’re not able to waive that fee. It was [some excuse about how it's not waiveable].

Bad things to say when negotiating bank fees:

  • “Are you sure?” Don’t make it easy for the rep to say no.
  • “Is there anything else I can do?” Again, imagine if you were a customer service rep and someone said this. It would make your life easier to just say “no.” As a customer, don’t make it easy for companies to say no.
  • “Well, this Indian blogger dude told me I could.” Nobody cares…but it would be cool if 1,000 customers called their banks and said this.
  • “Okay.” Don’t give up here. Despite what you learned in sex ed, “No” does not mean “No” when it comes from a bank.

Try these techniques to negotiate bank fees instead

Ramit: “Well, I see the fee here and I’d really like to get it waived. What else can you do to help me?” (Repeat your complaint and ask them how to constructively fix it.)
Bank rep: “Hmm, one second, sir. I see that you’re a really good customer…I’m going to check with my supervisor. Can you hold for a second?”
(I’ve been with the bank for many years, which you should always use to your advantage when calling to complain. Banks pay hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars in customer-acquisition costs and don’t want to lose you.)
Bank rep: “Sir, I was able to check with my supervisor and waive the fee. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Key takeaways:

  • Mistakes happen, but don’t be dumb and overdraft like me
  • When complaining, have a clear goal and don’t make it easy for companies to say ‘no’ to your complaint
  • “No” is the beginning of the conversation

[Update]: Always, always track your customer service calls (you can use this free spreadsheet). When I logged in this morning, I saw that the bank had categorized the overdraft as a cash advance from my credit card and and charged me a $27.10 finance charge. I got that waived (with a fight), but imagine if you’re earning $400/week. Those ridiculous fees just took 10% of your income away, underlining this recent Washington Post article about Americans’ dissatisfaction with credit card fees. If you’re going to say, “But consumers should just read the documentation,” it’s just not that simple.

[Update 2]: To open a high-interest ING savings account (I use one), click here.

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86 Comments

 

Comments

  1. Another argument suggestion: Blame the fee on the bank, particularly on their technology. Ex: I overdrafted because my online balance wasn’t correct. They give you a little lesson on how charges take a couple of days to post to your online account, and usually refund your fee. Remember though, they will never admit they were wrong, but will refund the charges for the “confusion” they caused you. Also, remember to point out that (hopefully) “This has never happened before, I am a good customer!”

  2. Overdraft fees are ridiculous, especially when you have a large savings account and made a mistake by not transfering money in time.

    The fees most banks charge are often higher than if you were to go get a payday loan as a hold-over until your transfer goes through.

  3. That’s true, Ross, you could say anything, but it just seems distasteful. What do you guys think?

  4. I don’t really think its distasteful, its more of a matter of honesty and integrity. But hey are bankers that honest? ;)

  5. I’ve gotten lots of fees waved by calling up. It’s definitely important not to take them laying down.

    One good story goes like this:
    I signed up for a new credit card (wanted to have an AMEX card for the international recognition and travel features and BoA offered me one with no annual fee) and while I was activating, I was offered a balance transfer at 1.99%. After offering the balance transfer, there were some connection problems on the line but I heard the rep saying something about percentages. I asked, to double check, “Are there any fees associated with this transfer”. The rep said “no”, so I said “ok, then transfer $2000 from my account with Citibank”.

    A few days later, I see the transfer in my online account balance and a 3% ($60) fee attached to it. I immediately call up BoA and tell them that the fee is unacceptable and that I was told by the first rep that there would be no fee. They made some blah blah about how I was read the fee disclaimer and I explained exactly what had happened initially. After a few more rounds, I said “Fine, then just undo the transfer and forget it, I obviously transfered to _save_ myself money and with this fee that’s not going to happen”. (I had foolishly purchased a projector on credit that I wouldn’t be able to pay off for about 2 months, so figured that paying 1.99% was better than the 17.99 on the card I’d initially charged it to.) Anyhow, they said they couldn’t undo the transfer, and suggested I call Citibank.

    I tried that, but it got me nowhere, so I called BoA back and asked that they remove the fee again. Again explaining exactly what happened with the first rep. I repeatedly suggested that they go and dig up the tape of that first conversation, because they will clearly see that they have a problem with their rep and not with their customer if they do. At the end of that conversation, this rep removed the fee and I’ve happily gone on with my life paying just $0.27 in interest on a 1.5month 2000 dollar loan.

    This post has gotten long, but I do have one other suggestion to offer the readers here: If you are going to be late with a payment by a few days, for any reason, call your creditor up and ask for an extension _first_. I’ve twice had issues where I’ve forgotten to schedule an online payment in a timely manner and they’ve been able to extend my payment date long enough to get the payment in w/o fees.

  6. When I went to pay my balance in full one month, I got charged a $20ish dollar finance charge for short paying my credit card balance by 10 cents. Instead of starting out negatively, which isn’t going to help because no one likes to be yelled at or blamed for something they can’t control, I just asked what it was for and played dumb. Once she determined what the charge was for, she offered to remove it without me asking (probably because she realized it was bullshit). Instead of coming at her with, “Why is your bank so crappy that it couldn’t figure out that it was only 10 cents.”, I let her come to that conclusion on her own. I think if you start out in a nice way your odds of success are better. Just because they can, doesn’t mean they will, and if you’re an asshole I think your chances drop dramatically with that person, meaning you’re going to spend more time on the phone talking to someone else. But, I will say that sometimes you need to be a little tougher, especially when they’re trying to stonewall you and dragging out the call.

  7. I was viewing my AMEX Platinum’s balance online just last week (actually on 5/21) and noticed that the balance was due on 5/22. (For those of you that don’t know, this particular card is a charge card and requires you to pay the full balance off every month to avoid HUGE late fees.)

    So I requested an online payment that posted on 5/22 — exactly on the due date. When I logged in to look at my statement earlier today, I noticed that I had been hit with a fee that was nearly $100! I called in and learned that a restaurant I had eaten at around 5/15 managed to post their $20 transaction on the morning of 5/22 and therefore my payment from the previous night hadn’t actually paid off the full balance.

    At the time, I figured I’d let it go as a “lesson learned” in paying attention to your accounts but decided it was worth a few minutes to actually call in and explain my case.

    I picked up the phone, explained the situation politely, asked that the fee be refunded because my account had always been in good standing, paused for 30 seconds as they processed the refund and then wished me a great day. Total time spent was about 5 minutes from the time I picked up the phone and I’m glad I did it.

    Lesson: Don’t be afraid to ask for the refund if you can show that it was an honest mistake — the worst they can possibly say is no.

  8. I am very shy and HATE negotiating stuff like this. I am much more likely to let people walk all over me. However, reading this helped me get the courage to call up my bank and ask them to waive a recent insufficient funds fee (paid a bill from the wrong account). She did it immediately, no questions asked. That felt awesome!!!

  9. This horror story is called “Honour Fees” in Australia. I come from The Netherlands originally and I don’t want to brag, but ‘we’ don’t have overdraw fees at all, because every bank will give you a credit of a 1000 or more euros on your normal everyday account, so you can go into the red with very acceptable interest if it’s necessary to use.

    Anyway, I came to Australia opened an account with ANZ, deposited some money in it and because nobody told me or could not be found in their basic ‘reading material’ I thought that as soon as my money ran out I would not be able to take out any more.

    Thought wrong – I went on a holiday into the country, with no ANZ atms to check my balance, and when I came home I found a letter saying that I was declared an Honour Fee. Don’t you just love that word? It turned out that I had overdrawn 70 dollars and that ANZ ‘happily’ gave out this money to me, but that they wanted it back, with an extra 35 dollar Honour Fee!! That is 50%!!

    I was furious and immediately called up. I explained my case, but still they didnt want to budge (I was talking to a customer services rep who sounded like a machine, he was horrible) Since I was completely new to this whole overdraw idea in the first place, I asked that my account be closed for further overdraws.

    “Of course sir, but do understand that..” And he started listing a litany of exceptions and things for which ANZ couldn’t be held responsible if it did happen. How hard can it be…? To close an account for overdrawing.. Still I had to listen to it for 5 minutes and say “Yes” to 15 different things before he could finally close my account for further overdraws. Or so I thought.

    2 months later I went clothes shopping, big time. I had a rough estimate of what I should have in my account and since I was under the impression that my account couldn’t be overdrawn I just swiped it everywhere. A week later I got 2 letters, one for an honour fee of 35 dollars for overdrawing and one for 35 dollars for overdrawing more than 200 dollars!

    *snap*

    Phone – call – angry. Luckily this time I had a very friendly woman who immediately understood what went wrong and pointed out that the guy before hadn’t actually closed the account and that indeed I was already right the first time to ask for a waiver of the first fee! So at once she closed my account for overdrawing and waived all three fees! Even the one I had paid back!

    Well THAT is customer service! (but I’ll be happy when I’m back in The Netherlands haha)

  10. While many bank fees are ridiculous, I find that they are quite willing to wipe them for a good customer.

    I had a bounced check fee wiped because I stupidly wrote a check out of the wrong account. I simply walked into the bank and asked, and they did it right there on the spot. I didn’t have to do any convincing or anything. Plus, I’d been a customer for ~5 years.

  11. When I call customer services, I am very nice to them.
    Customer services do not set the rules. They just get stuck answering our questions or hearing our complaints.

  12. Ramit,

    The repetition technique is exactly the one I favor in negotiations.

    I simply repeat the request until I no longer get the auto-answer.

    People are lazy. The first response will almost always be no. Much less work.

  13. I wish that credit card companies instead weren’t always trying to tack on extra fees and charges and that everything wasn’t this difficult. I saw that article in the WashingtonPost and I think its crazy how much money they make off all their hidden fees. One group that I work with, http://www.unfaircreditcardfees.com is trying to help with things like the interchange fees that we never even hear about that get tacked onto everything. I hope something gets done soon.

  14. Speaking of crazy CC fees, I had recently gotten the PayPal MC (lousy interest overall, but it was 0% introductory for 90 days, and I used it on some small Ebay purchases that I knew I’d pay off in 3 months)…

    Anyway, I almost forgot and had to make a payment due the next day. I hadn’t setup the online portion yet (and after trying to do so having it spit back it would take 3-4 business days to link to my checking account), and then saw that you could make a payment by phone. No problem right?

    Wrong. After going through the automation steps, it was a $10 fee to make the payment (said so at the end when the payment was about to be made)!

    Not for a late payment mind you…this is for any phone payment made through an automated system.

    Needless to say I made it, then got it waived pretty quickly afterward…yowch.

  15. Good post… I tried that a few time but never worked for me though. Also, recently in the U.K there have been few similar but escalated incidents and the court has thrown these complaints out. Court says the customer has no legal case against them. But I guess it depends upon the way you present your case in the first place.

  16. I’ve gotten out of a lot of fees…usually a simple email will do it. If one email doesn’t do it, go for another one. If an email doesn’t do it, then call.

  17. Funny – I recently dropped my long-time credit union for an on-line bank due to this very same issue. I’d been a customer of my CU for over 10 years and, when I accidentally caused an overdraft because of an errant mouse click, I got charged an overdraft *twice* by my old bank.

    One call to the on-line bank and they immediately waived the fee – literally before I could even finish asking for them to do it. After three calls to customer service, and an in person visit to a local branch, the CU finally waived just one of the fees.

    There are two valuable lessons I learned from this experience:

    1. Do everything you can to avoid an overdraft in the first place.

    and more importantly

    2. When it comes to getting what you want from companies, remember the old basketball adage: “You always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

  18. I don’t know how many times this has happened to me when I was younger…plus bank fees will eat up your account…if you let them…thanks Ramit.

  19. Thank you Ramit! I just got back from negotiating with my bank (hardly a negotiation, I was nice to them and they basically said ok!). I was glad I had the knowledge to use in case I needed it, which luckily I did not.

  20. I convinced by bank to GIVE me $800.

  21. I just asked my bank to waive a stupid fee. They charge me a stupid “Stock holding” fee, that fee kills my profit with stocks.

    They said no, I guess my only option is to sell my stocks.

  22. There’s an interesting article from the Pitt. Tribune Review here: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/business/s_509710.html
    that talks about how credit cards don’t just go after individual consumers like us but also small businesses too with their fees. Its a good read and another example about how the credit card companies keep going after the little guy.

  23. Thanks for the advice. It just saved me $29 with Amex.

  24. Ramit,

    Way to go. I love hearing about customer successes against unethical practices.

  25. [...] Finance blogger Ramit Sethi describes how he convinced his bank to waive an overdraft fee. [...]

  26. I’d like to see a justification or breakdown of exactly why it costs them $25 to bounch a check. This is just an electronic transaction like the other million electronic transactions they do everyday . . . and they wonder why the bankruptcy rate is so high.

  27. Wells Fargo will generally waive an overdraft fee something like once a year, but they do make a note of it in your account. When I had less income and was more likely to overdraft (Read: Starving College Student), I would close my Wells Fargo account everytime I overdrafted and got it waived and opened a new one.

    Another note about Wells Fargo:

    If it’s obvious that you will overdraft, their system will automatically reorder the posting of transactions from high to low in order to maximize overdraft fees. This is why I stopped using them and switched to USAA.

  28. I was lucky that I didn’t have to argue with a situation recently because I was able to jump on it in time. I put a $10,000 corporate event on my credit card that was reimbursed by my employer and paid off the same week. Thing is, I had about $500 in my own expenses that I was planning to pay the following month… interest on $500 isn’t too bad.

    Thing is, something bugged me, and I called the bank, asking if I would be charged interest on the $500 or the $10500 if that last bit wasn’t paid off. Sure enough, they would have hit me with about $200 worth of interest had I not made that call and paid the remaining balance off with my LoC.

    And banks wonder why everyone hates them.

  29. Just a couple days after reading your article I got a $39 returned payment fee from my credit card company because I had entered the wrong checking account information for a payment. Haven’t been with the company too long, but I’ve made every payment on time…should I use the same strategy to try to get the fee reversed?

  30. Wow I never knew they charged for overdraft. I think I’m going to send my bank a thank you note for being so great.

    I get free checking, free overdraft, free checks, free ATM withdraws from any ATM, interest on checking over $1000, and credit rewards with my check card.

  31. Totally! This just happened to me – and instead of a $20 overdraft fee they charged me around $240 — It took me a few days to notice I’d gone over my limit. They fixed everything within 5 minutes. I definitely played up the fact that I’m a great customer and have been for a long time and that it was partially their fault – I didn’t realize I had an automatic withdrawl!

  32. Sean, CC companies will waive the fee upto 4 times a year, but it makes a note on the account.

    I too made the same mistake a few months back and didn’t catch it until the payment got returned that it was from the wrong account. Since then I have been fighting with them to lower me back to a lower interest rate instead of the 29.99% I am on now. One simple fucking mistake and they are raping me.

    I am making the switch to a 9.9% interest card hopefully in a week so Chase can eat it.

  33. Thanks Ramit for a kick in the pants. I called up Suntrust and had my “maintenance fee” rescinded without a fight. It was only 4 bucks, but the self-satisfaction I gained from the experience was worth much more.

  34. Be weary of Chase. With a credit score of 820 plus. They raises my rate to 23 percent because i closed a few open accounts. I used them for about 100,000 IN A year or so. Well after calling manager on top of manager – to lower this rate to ANYTHING lower 1 percent anything ?? NOTHING! I told the MGR I was going to move the account. He told me “YOU DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO” so i closed everything with CHASE. I will never use chase NOT EVEN their ATM service!

  35. I read your article last week and thought it was great.

    Then just before the week end I receive a fee for €4.44. This was genuine due to a very unusual slipped payment.

    So I phone using your ‘script’ and have it waived in seconds.

    Results! Fantastic, thank you so much! i will go through all other posts and apply your advice immediately :-)

  36. Thanks. Some banks are really good at making sure their customers are happy. I remember recently I was charged a $30 finance charge for paying my bill too early??!?! I was headed out of town for a month and I thought it would be best to just pay it all before I leave rather than do it while I am on vacation (internet security issues). When I got back and got my bill in the mail sure enough that $30 charge was there. I called in, the rep understood my situation and took care of it.

    Generally, it comes down to how you talk to the rep on the phone if you are rude to them, yeah they can’t be rude back to you, but they can make sure that your attempt to get what ever it was done won’t be easy.

  37. Im in the process of trying to get three $35 overdraft fees ($95 total) removed from my Bank of America. Apparently it is their policy to not refund overdraft fees.

    Ramit, I tried your techniques and then went further insisting that they remove it. They did not, and would not.

    They were completely inflexible, and I’m going to get rid of my BoA account and go fully to ING for checking and savings!

  38. Your post inspired me. (And a 5-minute phone call was worth $60)
    In March, my CU charged me $270 for insufficient funds (yes, 18 different transactions!)
    I called them back then and asked if they could refund them, and they gave the easy answer.
    After reading the What-not-to-do guide, I asked again using the magic techniques, and they gave me back $60.
    Cool, eh?
    Still not as cool as $270, but worth it in the end.

  39. You are a genius… Just got my bank statement and they charged me $6 worth of ATM fees for withdrawing money in Virgin Islands. So I decided why not… “Hello, I just saw some ATM fees on my last statement and I would like to get them removed”. The rep said “sure, let me take a look at these”. 2 minutes on the phone, 6 bucks saved. I love Wachovia and I love your blog!

  40. I’m probably the ultimate example of why it’s a good idea to ask your bank to reverse an overdraft fee. After reading this web page, I called my bank and asked them to reverse a recent overdraft fee that I’d incurred. They agreed to reverse it as a “one time courtesy” and then asked me if I wanted to enroll in their overdraft protection service. I said I was interested in getting more information on the service, and was told that I’d be transferred to a different department. I was on hold for some time, and then the customer service representative returned and informed me that I had actually already attempted to enroll in the service in August of 2003, but that the bank had entered my information improperly, so the service had never kicked in. She said she’d seen this “a few times before.” Well, I immediately wrote a letter to the bank, with all the details of what had transpired (including the customer service representative’s name–which you should *always* write down), and asked them to reverse every single overdraft fee I’d incurred over the last 3 years. They did so, and I came out of the whole thing with three hundred bucks in refunds. Since I’ve been attempting to take a much more proactive role in my finances lately, this really feels like a fresh start of sorts, so thank you very much!

  41. I’m usually super diligent with paying all my bills on time, but somehow I missed a payment on my Amex card. I got slammed with a $19 late fee. I called customer service and explained that I just forgot and this has never happened before and asked for a break. I was willing to accept any kind of break they would give me. The nice lady came back after a while and said “Sir, we have waived the late charge”. I’m so glad I called.

    Ramit, I’m a regular reader of your blog and I think reading your blogs made me make this call. I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

    Just ask.

  42. [...] the extra money and finally decided to give them a call based on customer service blog posts I saw here, here, and here.  I called Brighthouse Cable and the conversation went something like this after [...]

  43. Ramit, thank you for this blog. It worked perfectly. I had a zero % introdutory offer for 10 months by using their check ( I got it in the mail ) and borrowing up to $10,000 maximum. Well I did just that. I already had the card with no balance, then put $10,000 on it. ( I invested or saved, the $10,000 in an account making more than the minimum payment required. But then after 2 months in, I was late in the minimum payment by 3 days. I paid a $39 late fee plus the minimum payment. The next statement came and I noticed the introductory offer was eliminated and replaced with a 20.49% finance charge. I called the credit card company (one of the largest banks in the country) and asked the rep what I needed to do to restore the 0% finance charge. He asked why I was late in the payment andI told him a legitimate reason. He said he would see if there was anything he could do and if “the system” would allow such a change. Well after a little while he said he restored it back to 0% AND gave me back the $39 late fee I paid. When we were through he asked if I would be interested in another card with another 10 month 0% rate and I said sure. So now I have double the borrowing power both with 0% finance charges on new purchases. I didn’ think they would do this, but thanks to the information on this site, It did!

  44. I had 4 overdraft fees from my bank, totally my fault. I used the techniques above and got out of paying 80 dollars of it.

  45. Thanks, Ramit! I just got my credit card company to waive the $39 overlimit fee they’d assessed. It was so easy, but I never would have known to do it if not for your blog!

  46. [...] dig into each part. Cut costs? That means saying no. That means being merciless with budgeting and negotiating and making smart purchases for the long term. Making more money? That means entrepreneurship, [...]

  47. I work for the bank. I have to constantly remind customers that it is their responsibilty to keep track of their finances. It’s very simple: write down your ATM debit purchases and checks in your register booklets and deduct any pending transactions off your available balance. 90% of customers assume if they look online it will show their real balance. Our bank doesn’t show what your pending transactions are whenever you use your cards. Yes, we’re a little behind the times but you have to use your heads and avoid getting overdrafts in the first place!

  48. i just asked bank of america to waive some of the 11 overdraft fees that i got slammed with when i allowed my checking account to dip below zero. they refused and the woman named Lynette didn’t even offer to waive a single one as a courtesy. i’m going to close my accounts with bank of america, i have been with them for 12 years and i don’t deserve to be treated like that.

  49. I’ve never had a problem with overdrafting until i lost my job for about a month. I dont know how it happened but i got Wells Fargo, a big mean bank, to reverse about 30 (do you know how much money that is?!!) overdraft charges. What i did was, made a script, edited it when neccessary (whether it was a guy i had to play the damzel, and a female i would have to act totally stupid as if she was smarter than me) and called about 30-40 different branches, in and out of state. I would just be silent when they said they couldnt reverse them, silence seems to make them uncomfortable. They would all say “well out of courtesy i will reverse 3 but thats all i can do” I would act SO appriciative, thank them, hand up, and dial the next number. When they saw i already had some reverese, i would tell them that the customer service line helped me out all they could, but suggested i call my regular branch to further assist me. It was crazy. Now, im trying to do it again for 13 fees i have totaling 430 some off dollars, a whole weeks pay. my next step is to write a letter.. letters get results. also stop overdrafting would be the key. sometimes people just fall on hard times.

  50. [...] discount or anything like that. But stories in the pf blogsphere, such as Ramit’s account of how to negotiate out of bank fees have inspired to me to at least give it a try. The worst they can do is say no, [...]

  51. I just read this today & called the customer service number for wellsfargo. The representative only gave me partial credit for my overdraft fees but it was a credit of 125.00. I accepted & called back to get more fees removed & got another 282.00 credit after talking to the next lady. wow this really works! I am calling again to get the final ones removed. thanks!!

  52. “I got that waived (with a fight), but imagine if you’re earning $400/week. Those ridiculous fees just took 10% of your income away, underlining this recent Washington Post article about Americans’ dissatisfaction with credit card fees.”
    I make 100 a week.. since I am in Med school mostly and work when I can.. Imagine it then, when it takes about 30% of my income away.. I am not too happy..

  53. There’s something to be said for calling in, rather than appearing in person. This week, after being irritated at Nevada State Bank for charging me an overdraft fee when I’d transferred money in advance (that their own systems said was immediately available), I was ready to drop my bank because they wouldn’t reverse it when I explained the situation – in person. I read your blog and called it – didn’t even have to follow half your steps but got it reversed. Why not in person? (Hey, I’m not ugly!!) Who knows?

  54. [...] Ramit Sethi says: “Despite what you learned in sex ed, “No” does not mean “No” when it comes from [...]

  55. [...] where it gets really interesting. He didn’t freak out or start yelling about how to negotiate out of bank fees. He simply pointed out something very gently: “What if you could focus on your overdrafts? If [...]

  56. totally worked. i called bank of america, was on hold for about two minutes, told the customer service rep that i wanted the fee waived, she put me on hold for 20 seconds and then said, “okay.”

    and now the fee’s gone. hooray.

  57. Keep track of how much money you have in your checking account by keeping your account register up-to-date.Pay special attention to your electronic transactions.Don’t forget about automatic bill payments you may have set up for utilities, insurance, or loan payments.Keep an eye on your account balance. and lastly review your account statements each month.

  58. This works on occassion, but if they’ve done it for you before, they may not do it again. I recently experienced two OD fees of 37.50 each for going a negative $4 in “pending” transactions (before they actually cleared, and when they cleared there wasn’t a negative balance). I work for a bank and I can honestly tell you that banks are preying upon you to mess up. And, its not just due to consumer irresponsibility.

    Let’s take for example that your a married couple who decide you would like to open a checking account…..
    The personal banker offers you TWO debit cards (one for you and one for your spouse) and your online banking information so you can log into your account on the internet. They may also still offer you a check register and courtesy checks until your printed checks arrive. Then, you start to realize that you have options of direct deposit, direct payments, online bill pay through the bank, or through the company in which you owe, etc. You now have two individuals who may swipe their cards, or make online payments (all which do not post right of way, keep in mind…) and one check register. Not exactly a design of success. With all of these options and new technology , Neither individuals no longer have to bug tellers to cash their paycheck, or give them cash so they can buy groceries, nor do they have to bug any other customer service reps at other companies for these type of transactions. What do I get rewarded with? Not standing in line. Thats it. And the bank gets rewarded with getting by with less staff, less bank branches, and less paper and supply costs. They also get income from charging the store clerks for running automated debit/credit machines.
    So what else do the banks ask for? That they get to charge me an arm and a leg when the design isn’t perfect?????? Bullshi*

    You other bankers can run this “just avoid OD’s ” crap on me all day. Sure, thats easy to do if you have lots of money. In reality, your not sticking by your product!!!

  59. I had a ton of overdraft fees as a result of poor money management and decided to search the internet to see if anyone had success in getting their fees waived…. this is the first site I read and after reading I called up BoA and they waived 8 overdraft fees for a total of $280! I have to say, the first time around the customer representative told me he could only waive one fee so I asked to speak to a supervisor and *somehow* I was disconnected. The second time I called I spoke with a rep who immediately told me she could take away five of the charges for a total of $125. After thanking her graciously I asked to be connected to a supervisor to confirm the removals and to discuss my account (this was crap, I just wanted to see if I could get more removed) and the supervisor then also immediately told me she could remove the 8 charges. Soooooo, calling is definitely worth it, and asking to speak to the supervisor was an even better idea. This is the first time BoA has actually been helpful with my money.

  60. [...] some of the same techniques Ramit outlined in this article from I Will Teach You To Be Rich, I got both charges reversed without much hassle. Similar results [...]

  61. Try living in south africa you get bank charges for just about everything that you do. Can anyone tell me if you are paying monthly fees to have a merchant account and you think they are to high how to reduce them if your bank manager tells you there is nothing she can do as head office sets the fees. And for some reason I can never reach head office.

  62. My husband called our credit union today and had them wave one of 4 fees. We are working on the other 3. THANK YOU SO MUCH! Your script worked wonders!!!

  63. [...] I will teach you to be rich: Negotiating Out of Bank Fees Part 2 [...]

  64. I am so glad that I checked this forum out today…. after one stupid error of forgetting a hotel charge that was going to go through (which I stayed at a week ago… and I am terrible at balancing my account! I rely way too much on online banking) I was charge FIVE overdraft fees of $35 each. That’s $175 in overdraft fees! I thought I might vomit as I am already working two jobs to try and keep up and this was the last thing I needed. I did call Wells Fargo, and though I am not entirely satisfied they did waive half of the fees so I was only charged $87.50. I had accounted for all of the other transactions that went through but forgot about only one transaction. After speaking with a representative, I asked to speak with a manager and he did waive $87.50. I kept trying for more but with no luck. Oh well, at least it’s half!! Thanks everyone for the tips.

  65. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS POST!!!!!! I just got my bank overdraft fee refunded. I will tell all my friends about your site :D

  66. i’m trying to get out of an 18-month contract with directv that they never told me about when i had to get my receiver replaced by them ~2 mths ago (which they charged me for, and i got them to waive that fee, which they didn’t tell me about either). so i’ve switched to verizon fios (because it’s overall cheaper), and still waiting for the response from directv about waiving the $300 cancellation fee. i spoke with 1 customer service rep today, then his supervisor. his supervisor told me that he could not make the decision about the cancellation fee, and asked me to contact “corporate” instead (via email on the site).
    what else do you suggest i do?
    thanks!

  67. I just called my bank…a few of my charges went through early, leaving me with overdraft fees. Still my fault, but it was a mistake that hasn’t happened for a long time. Called my bank customer service, and they refunded half my fees back to me!

  68. I am a full time college student and Bank of America socked me with over $400 in overdraft fees even though I only spent $300 in charges with more than $600 in my checking account! not only did they steal my money but they socked me with the overdraft…is there anything that i can do? i know banks have the upper hand but i feel so discouraged…

  69. I just wanted to thank you for this post and the sample script. I just got off the phone with my bank. I spoke with the bank rep about 2 overdraft fees incurred in January and went through the script. I asked if she could do anything for me and she asked exactly what I wanted her to do. I asked if she could possibly ask her Supervisor and after a bit of a wait and an account check by the Supervisor, I was granted the waive of the fees. It’s strange how we are socialized to not fight back, but the pay off of money back and a slight endorphin high make it all worth to fight. Thanks again.

  70. [...] talking about negotiating with banks, Ramit Sethi had some good points on what not to [...]

  71. Just got off the phone with Wells Fargo, it seems that they will only refund half now. That’s all I got and I read some of the other comments saying they only got half.

  72. Funny how things work out… just ran into this post randomly, decided to call my bank about the two $40 returned cheque charges I incurred 2 months ago (2 months ago!), and after politely asking the girl on the phone to have those removed, she put me on hold for a minute, reviewed my account (for good standing and such) and reimbursed me for one of those charges no questions asked… however, according to their policy they could only do that for one charge, not both.

    Hey, I’ve got $40 of my money back in my pocket, so… thanks for the reminder and the idea, if anything!

  73. haha this post help me so much. i called my bank and told them straight up i didnt want the overdraft fees at all and the telephone banker said “ok i will have those reversed for you right now so now you have 6 overdrafts cleared and have 210 dollars back into your account” thank you so much for the article, i would of never been so direct to a banker until now

  74. Just got off the phone with Capital One and got a $40 late fee waived. It really is amazing at how simple and quickly the fee was waived. I followed the script exactly, asked to “please have the late fee waived” and the woman waived it without any questions asked literally within 30 seconds! I was hesitant to call, to be honest I was a bit nervous but now that I realize how simple it is I will be calling every time I get a fee. Thanks so much for the tip!

  75. I never had to negotiate with my bank simply because like the Indian banks have a Know Your Customer (KYC) process, I do a Know Your Bank & often know ’bout it more than average bank personnel does.

    I’ve had issues with my Cellular service, but more often than not, it’s insignificant & not worth my time…not even the 2 minutes. ;-)

  76. I just had an overdraft for the first time in years. I called my bank and in less than 90 seconds they agreed to refund the $35 fee. I pulled up this post, but didn’t even need to use any of the scripts. I just asked and they refunded it! Thanks for giving me the courage to call!

  77. Today I called BoA, and discovered I was overdrawn 115$, including 3 overdraft fees (110 of the 115 was overdraft charges!). I was confused about this because the last time I used my card was on the 12th (today is the 17th), and I checked my balance/pending transactions before I used it. It said I had no pending transactions, and I made sure not to spend more than it said I had (I am poor, I don’t need overdraft fees!!). I called, and the man who was supposed to “help” me explained that 6 transactions posted to my account on the 13th (I only made 3 on the 12th). That was the extent of his help. Once I realized that the overdrafts were partially their fault (I say partially because I should write down my spending and not rely on the system), I called back and explained to the person that answered that I checked my balance on the 12th etc… I didn’t even ask him to reverse any of the overdrafts. He was super nice/helpful and ended up reversing all of the overdraft charges. By far the best BoA experience I have ever had.

  78. I have always found banks and credit card companies willing to waive fees when asked, but I struck out with Bank of America in Phoenix July 20. I had fallen below the minimum required balance, so when I realized my error, I went to my branch to deposit twice the minimum required balance and I asked that the $12 monthly maintenance fee be waived as a courtesy for having been a good customer for 30+ years (plus I have money in an account at BofA subsidiary Merrill Lynch). Alas, just that morning the staff had been instructed that from this day forward, ABSOLUTELY NO FEES WOULD BE WAIVED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, so I closed my account. Imagine, allowing a long-term, satisfied customer to walk for $12. Makes me wonder about the management of BofA. Makes me worry about my future with Merrill Lynch!

  79. [...] easy out by just saying no (Thanks to Ramit from this post on negotiating with your bank for some great advice used for this particular [...]

  80. [...] There no fees, but it didn’t offer much else. For our joint accounts,though, we were looking something a bit better. We were on the lookout for a FDIC insured checking account that would do the [...]

  81. [...] it was MY FAULT essentially) and I needed the numbers from his card.  I called the 800 number and asked them if I could get some help with the overdraft fees. They reversed the charges without any [...]

  82. [...] Negotiating out of bank fees — part 2 » AKPC_IDS += "62,"; [...]

  83. I tried calling BoA today to reverse some 10 dollar “transfer” fees that I got from them transferring money from my savings to my checking for me even though I didn’t want them to because I could do it myself, and after about an hour of talking on the phone I was unsuccessful in getting them to reverse the fees.

    What should I do? The way they had my accounts set up was completely confusing and I had no idea I would get charged…but they don’t care and won’t reverse the fees. The supervisor finally just hung up on me.