When it comes to making money for a bank, there are few items as effective as a fee. Whether you have an overdraft on your account, are seeing a new annual fee on your credit card, or if you now have to pay a monthly service fee on your savings account when you balance drops, it is no fun to pay fees. However, fees seem to be multiplying in number; everyone seems to be charging fees.
You can, though, ask for a fee to be rescinded. It might not always work, but it never hurts to ask — especially if you are a good customer. I’ve had late payment fees waived on credit cards, as well as overdraft fees rescinded om my checking account. If you want a bank fee rescinded, you can increase the chance that it will happen by keeping the following in mind:
- Be polite: Start off by being polite. Stay calm. Explain the circumstance, and describe your desired outcome. If you are reasonable, many banks are willing to rescind a fee — at least once.
- Show that you tried: In some cases, you end up with an overdraft because a check you deposited earlier hasn’t cleared, or you end up with a late payment because you forgot to mail the payment on time, and it arrive a day or two late. If you can show that you made an effort, or that the fee is the result of a one-time slip-up, you are more likely to have the fee rescinded.
- Don’t make it a habit: You are much less likely to have a fee rescinded if you have a habit of late payments, or of overdrawing your account. Banks are likely to forgive you on occasion, but “regulars” aren’t going to get the same treatment.
Also, you can find out what your bank’s policy is on waiving fees. My bank, for example, will waive one fee a year — just for the asking. This usually isn’t a policy that many banks advertise, since they’d rather you pay the fee. But it doesn’t hurt to ask about it at your bank.
What About Fees on Accounts?
Of course, if a bank account comes with a fee, it’s a little bit harder to avoid fees. In some cases, if your bank account slips below the minimum, but is back up quickly, you might have an argument. However, you might do more to go to your financial institution and ask about your options. Find out if there is a comparable account that doesn’t come with fees. You might be able to move a few things around, or you might be able to have your account converted to something without fees.
Another option is to change banks. There are a number of community banks and credit unions, as well as online financial institutions, willing to offer fee-free accounts. In some cases, these institutions will even refund you for ATM fees paid at different locations. If you go to your bank, and explain (politely!) that you are unhappy with the fees charged on the accounts, you might have those fees waived if you show you are ready to switch to a fee-free institution. Of course, you have to be ready to make the switch, just in case they say no.