Sunday, September 26, 2010

Financial Tip: Ask To Have The Fee Waived

File this under the "You Never Know What You'll Get Until You Ask" department:

Recently I forgot to pay off my credit card on time. Doh! Although we faithfully pay off our credit card every month occasionally we don't get it in on time. This time the result was an $80 interest charge. I was 4 days too late.

Credit card companies make money off of you not just by the interest, but by the percentage of the amount the vendor who sells you something has to pay. So even if you've never paid any late fees or had any interest charged to you they still want to retain you as a customer. If you get charged some interest, just do what I did and call them. Try asking these three things:

1. Ask them if they have received your late payment. When they say "yes" you get points with them.
2. Ask them if the late payment will affect your credit score. Most likely it will not (unless you have not paid them for several months) - feel free to express you relief from this concern.
3. Ask them politely "Is there any way you can waive the interest fees?" Most companies will check your past history for a few months or a year and if you've been a faithful customer will most likely take it off. If they provide you with any backtalk or tell you what you want is impossible try this "Are you sure? I've been a loyal customer of your company for ____ years." Some companies train their telephone staff to say no once, but if the customer insists will eventually back down.

So there you go, a little way to save yourself some money. Just ask!

P.S. If you are in the habit of not paying off your credit card account every month you are most likely paying a high interest rate. Often all it takes is a little phone call to the company letting them know that you'd like the rate reduced (and hinting that you may switch credit companies if something can't be done) and your rate will drop from double digits to something much smaller!


Jay Boaz said...

It's true, if you just ask the credit card company for a lower interest rate there's a good possibility you'll get it. I did that a year or two ago and had it significantly reduced. I also switched to a different type of Visa card but since I told them I wasn't too keen on a card with an annual charge I got a $50 credit on my card too, which covers 2 years of the annual fee.

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