How to stop paying credit card fees

Last year, I wrote a scathing post about the Capital One acquisition of ING and how to stop paying credit card fees. It was widely read and quoted in a Fortune profile.

Days later, I received this email:

“Love your site.  I work for Capital One (in IT, not the card division), and I thought you’d be amused to learn that “I Will Teach You to be Rich” was classified as a “phishing site” and added to Capital One’s restricted website list about 3 days after your post regarding the ING aquisition.  Weird how that happens, huh?”
— [Name intentionally obscured]


While most personal-finance bloggers make a boatload of cash from credit-card referrals, I only have one CC affiliate link on my site — for the credit card I actually use and recommend. So it’s not a big deal to me if most CC companies hate me for showing hundreds of thousands of people how to cut their APR, negotiate late fees, and switch away from predatory cards.

I figured I would share some of the material you may not have seen on this blog before.

This script has been field-tested with thousands of people who have gotten great results. Feel free to use these yourself.

What to do if you miss a credit card payment and to stop paying fees

You: “Hi, I noticed I missed a payment, and I wanted to confirm that this won’t affect my credit score.”

Credit Card rep: “Let me check on that. No, the late fee will be applied, but it won’t affect your credit score.”

(If you pay within a few days of your missed bill, it usually won’t be reported to the credit agencies. Call them to be sure.)

You: “Thank you! I’m really happy to hear that. Now, about that fee…I understand I was late, but I’d like to have it waived.”

Credit Card rep: “Why?”

You: “It was a mistake and it won’t happen again, so I’d like to have the fee removed.”

(Always end your sentence with strength. Don’t say, “Can you remove this?” Say, “I’d like to have this removed.” At this point, you have a better-than-50-percent chance of getting the fee credited to your account. But just in case you get an especially tough rep, here’s what to say.)

Credit Card rep: “I’m very sorry, but we can’t refund that fee. I can try to get you our latest blah blah marketing pitch blah blah…”

You: “I’m sorry, but I’ve been a customer for four years and I’d hate for this one fee to drive me away from your service. What can you do to remove the late fee?”

Credit Card rep: “Hmm . . . Let me check on that. . . . Yes, I was able to remove the fee this time. It’s been credited to your account.”

Give it a shot. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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