How to get a break on credit card interest and fees
VANCOUVER -- Looking from some extra money? It might a simple call away and not cost you a thing. When is the last time you called your credit card issuer and asked for a break?
Credit cards are a convenient way to shop but they come with a price; interest, if you carry a balance, interest on cash transactions, some cards have annual fees and they there are the late payment fees too.
“More people, generally speaking, are getting their way when they ask for these breaks,” said Matt Schulz, Lending Tree credit analyst.
According to a new survey by Lending Tree, more people have been asking their credit card issuers for some relieve and their success rates have gone up over the previous year.
• 83 per cent got a higher credit limit
• 88 per cent who asked for a waived late fee got it
• 92 per cent were successful in getting an annual fee waived or reduced
• 83 per cent, as in previous years, were successful in getting a lower interest rate
“Really? Well these are all things they don’t explain to us, right?” said Ethan Bolic who pays an annual fee on his credit card.
“It really is a matter of just picking up the phone and asking,” added Schulz. “There’s no question that issuers have been more sympathetic because of COVID.”
Some card issuers might be more willing to work with you, especially those with high annual fee credit cards that offer travel benefits. Obviously, the pandemic has brought travel to a screeching halt and those credit card issuers may be more open to offering other incentives or even forgive some, or all, of the annual fee.
“People need to realize that they have more power over their credit card issuers than they think they do,” Schulz explained.
The credit card issuers want to keep you happy, especially as the economy opens up and consumers start spending more money.
“The longer they have a good relationship with you, the more money they can make off of you,” said Schulz.
Before you call, have a plan; perhaps you have received another credit card offer with a lower interest rate that you can leverage. Be polite, if you get an outright, ‘no’; ask a supervisor to make your pitch.
However, you may encounter some resistance on getting a break on foreign transaction fees.
“That foreign transaction fee isn’t necessarily something that Canadian issuers have been as willing to waive,” said Schulz.
That is because many Canadians live near the U.S. border and cross border shop and will again when we can travel. Canadian banks make about a billion dollars ore more a year on those foreign transaction fees and are reluctant to give it up.
However, the marketplace has become more competitive; four years ago, there were only four Canadian credit cards without foreign transaction fees. Now, according to Ratehub there are 13.