The easiest saving: credit card annual fee waiver
It is that time of the year again. Opening the credit card statement and find that I am being charged for the credit card annual fee. It has been an annual event to request for the credit card annual fee waiver. So I pick up the phone to dial the call center. Punching in the usual numbers. Press 1 for credit card service, 2 for credit card PIN and so on.
In the previous years, I have had to speak to an operator on the other end. I had to justify that my credit scores were great and would have many credit offers from competing banks. This time, I reached a point where there is a specific number to key in for credit card annual fee waiver – press 4 for “credit card annual fee waiver”. I figured there must be many people requesting for the waiver to have a menu number assigned.
Why not waive the fee altogether when I having been requesting for the previous years?
The banks can choose either system – to allow customers to opt in or opt out? Clearly they have chosen the opt out system. Why choose the opt out system? This automatically assumes that you would be willing to pay the credit annual fee. Put in another way, you choose to pay the annual fee if you are not willing to put in some work to dial in to request the waiver – opt out.
Of course the credit card companies know that we are all busy and do not prioritize this. Counting on your inaction to opt out, the credit card companies stand to gain. How many credit cards are issued to customers? In the United States alone, there are 285 million Visa credit cards issued in 2013.
Assuming that 50% of people do not call in to request for a waiver. My credit card annual fee was $40. Doing the math, that is $5.7 billion.
There is plenty of positive free cash flow for the banks for the status quo to remain, you can bet that the opt in system will still be there next year. On the bright side, the easiest saving still requires you picking up the phone to save $40 immediately. The banks have also made it more automated with the assigned menu without speaking to a human, so no more threats of cancelling the credit card required.
- Have you requested for your credit card fee waiver?
- Have you recently checked whether you have been charged the annual fee?
- Is it time to share with family and friends who stand to save the easiest $40?