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Credit Card Debt Calculator”

Get your credit card’s annual fee waived

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A reader named Becky emailed me yesterday:

Just wanted to say thanks for inspiring me to get my $95 annual credit card fee waived tonight. I remembered reading one of your previous entries about asking your bank (or credit card company) nicely for these types of things. I just got an AMEX and I asked if they’d waive my fee the first year…I think for $95, the 1 minute I spent on hold was worth it.

Of course, most people shouldn’t even pay an annual fee on their credit card. But if you spend enough to justify it, you can often get it waived by using the same principles I use when negotiating my bank: See Part 1 and Part 2.

Leave me a comment and let me know how it goes for you.

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  1. It doesn’t hurt to ask. I asked and got my interest rate lowered.

  2. Hey Ramit, my card doesn’t have any annual fees; however, my interest rate is relatively high I think. I saw Laura’s comment about getting her interest lowered, so I’m actually going to give Chase a call today and see if I can get my interest lowered as well.

    I’ll let you know how it goes.


  3. I have an annual fee credit card and I get my fee waived every year just by calling them. It works only if you pay your balance in full. I wrote a detailed post on this too. If you are interested knowing how I do it, copy and paste this link into your browser –
    A Dawn Journal

    • does this work even with high annual fee credit card (like some AmExs with $450) as long as you pay balance in full by due date?

  4. Yes, but be careful. I read in the NY Times last weekend about a woman who called to dispute a charge who ended up having her credit limit reduced as a result of the call. Banks are pulling in their reigns. That’s not a big deal if you don’t carry a balance, but if you do, your debt-to-income ratio could shoot up resulting in a reduction in your credit score. In this environment, you either have impeccable credit or you can’t borrow…


  5. I was really shocked to discover that americans pay an annual fee towards their credit card. I live in Israel, there is an annual fee, but the majority of the population doesn’t even pay it. Take AMEX card for example, people who order this card get it 3 years free of annual fees, similar deals can be made using VISA cards as well. Even if you do pay an annual sum, it never reached 95$…. not even on gold credit cards.

    • I live in Israel too, you can’t compare Israeli cards with USA cards with a fee, only premium cards have fees and they usually give you 2-5% back as cash or miles, try that with isreali cards, isreali cards will require between 250-750 nis for one el-al point that is worth apprx 2.5 nis, so its between a third of a percent to a percent in rewards, you typically don’t get rewards for your first 250 nis, you also don’t get rewards for the amount between first tier and second for example if you get one point for every 250 nis now you spent 749 nis you will only get one point, first 250 no rewards and for the amount between 500 and 749 you won’t get a point either because its less than 250 nis, while my american card gives me 2% back, the annual fee gets paid off many times by the benefits.

  6. I’ve found whenever dealing with financial companies that they’re usually willing to remove any fees or what-not that you’ve incurred. It only takes a phone call.

    Thanks for pointing this out Ramit!

  7. Even with a few very old skeletons in my credit closet, I have been able to eliminate most fees and reduce interest rates through negotiation and paying balances in full with rare exceptions for the past several years.

  8. I tried it. AMEX would not wave my $100 annual fee.

  9. Usually it only takes a call. It also helps to be nice, to a point. These CSRs deal with angry people calling all day, sometimes it’s refreshing for them to hear someone more pleasant, which in turn makes them more willing to help.

  10. If you pay an annual fee, it’s time to get a new credit card.

    But really, none of us should be using credit cards at all. We should be living within our means, saving, investing, and building some kind of emergency fund so when our cars break down (or whatever), we don’t need to charge it.

    Fees are the enemy of those of us seeking financial freedom!

    • Not all credit cards have annual fees. And I totally disagree with your assertion that we shouldn’t be using credit cards at all. If the card holder pays off their balance in full each month, then using a CC is smarter than simply using debit.

      For example, if you use a debit card to pay $100 for a month of gas, then you get 0 cashback.

      If you use your Discover IT card during its first quarter (where there is 5% cashback on gas and transportation-related expenses), then spending $100 on gas will get you $5 back.

      Assuming you pay off your balance at the end of the month, then CC’s are better than debit cards, hands down. Not to mention, some credit cards like the Discover IT or Visa Signature cards offer 1-year extended warranty (added onto the manufacturer’s warranty) for your purchases and other perks that debit cards do not offer.

      Your path to financial freedom will take much longer if you’re only relying on debit lol