Banking

Card Companies Will Negotiate Annual Fees With Consumers

As it turns out, when it comes to the subject of the annual fees charged to consumers to use credit cards — card companies are willing to negotiate with consumers who ask over 80 percent of the time.

That data comes care of a new survey from CreditCards.com, which indicates that most consumers can see their fees waived entirely, and a small percentage of others see a reduction.

And, when asked by The Wall Street Journal, lenders confirmed (off the record and without attribution) that they generally acquiesce to such requests — though they try not to make a habit of advertising it.

The flexibility comes as card companies are trying to lure in more customers as the war for marketshare rages on. Issuers, apart from being relaxed on fees, have also rolled out rewards to keep consumers using those cards — particularly those with higher interest rates.  Annual fees are occasionally waived when a card holder agrees to spend a certain amount of money on the card within a set period of time, according to one card-issuing bank that didn’t want to be identified.

The willingness to bend on annual fees, though, doesn’t necessarily hold true for all credit-card lenders.

Not all lenders are interested in being flexible on fees, and the consumers most likely to receive reductions are regular users who pay on time and who threaten to close or cancel the card.

Other terms are also flexible. Consumers who asked for a lower interest rate got it 70 percent of the time — though, again, that flexibility tracks more toward customers who pay on time.

Banks, according to the survey, have also been increasingly willing to up customers’ credit limits, or the amount they can spend on the card at any one time.

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