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Q: I’ve been an American Express cardholder for about ten years and I love it. The only thing I don’t love is the annual fee that comes with the card. Is there anyway to negotiate this fee?
A: The answer is a tentative yes.
It isn’t like haggling over the price of a car. It isn’t something they will tell you about, either, but there is some leniency there.
It isn’t likely to be a permanent thing. But you may be able to have some luck negotiating a waived fee for the first year, if your credit card offer didn’t provide that already. One customer even reported having luck several years in a row just by calling American Express each year when the fee went through.
You’re going to have the most luck if you’re seen as an important customer. If you use your card frequently, but pay it off every month, you’re off to a good start. The more transactions you make, the more money you make them.
Credit card companies also like customers who pay on time, despite the money they make off of late fees.
So although it’s no guarantee, it certainly doesn’t hurt to try.
When you call, be friendly and polite. The customer service rep you’re dealing with has probably talked to several other grumpy—or just plain pissed off—people right before you, and will appreciate it. That way he or she will be much more willing to work with you.
Another tip would be to ask to speak to a higher up.
The person who takes your call often doesn’t have much authority over the situation, and is just trained to say no to most requests. The people in charge have much more freedom in deciding whether to waive your fee or not.
Threatening to cancel (except in nicer words) is a last resort that often works. The people in the cancellation department often have more authority than the representative that takes your call.
For a personal story of someone who got two bank charges reversed in one call, see this article: http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/heres-how-i-negotiated-out-of-bank-fees/. Maybe you’ll get some inspiration for when you make your call.
If you don’t have any luck, you may want to find a new credit card without the annual fee or a lower APR credit card.