It Never Hurts to Ask: Bank of America Waived My Annual Credit Card Fee

Last week, I received a letter in the mail informing me that my oldest credit card, a Visa from Bank of America, would see be subject to an annual fee of $59. I’ve never had an annual fee before. And I didn’t want to start paying one. A lot of banks, faced with fee caps due to new rules enacted as a result of financial regulation legislation, are looking for ways to replace that revenue. (But let’s be honest: Even with fees capped, banks are likely to do just fine. Even if they didn’t add all sorts of other fees into the mix.)

Anyway, I was not happy with the idea of paying an annual fee. Especially since I am a long time customer with a good payment history. Plus, thanks to Upromise ditching Citi in favor of Bank of America, I have two credit card accounts with BofA. I made my displeasure known on Twitter:

Within a few minutes, a customer service rep from Bank of America had replied:

We had a brief exchange:

Then, not too much later, I got a phone call from a rep who could help me. He was very polite, and said he would look into my situation. He called back to say that my annual fee was waived for a year.

I’m reasonably happy. I have let a balance creep up on that card, from the holidays and from some of the unexpected expenses that came with it. But, even so, I was prepared to pay off the credit card immediately and close my account if the fee wasn’t waived. I didn’t want to do this, since I like to have some breathing room for our finances, especially since we had car repairs a couple of weeks ago, the plumber bill came due and I’ve got state taxes pay (no quarterly payments in my state). Plus, I didn’t want the hit my credit score would take for closing my account (lower credit utilization) and for getting rid of my oldest credit card.

Of course, next year we are likely to run into this same problem again as the fee is re-instituted. I suppose I can call again at that time to ask for the fee to be waived, and see what they say.

Perhaps if I open a checking or savings account, they will be more amenable in the future to waiving my fee. But, for now, I’ve managed to avoid the annual fee. It just goes to show that it doesn’t hurt to ask. The worst they can do is tell you no.