The Bank of America content in this post was last updated on 03.03.2020
We live in a world of options, and credit cards are no different. There are cards to cater to just about any need you have. From retail cards to travel cards to cash back cards, the possibilities seem endless. And who doesn’t want a credit card that pays them back for their purchases?
While there are lots of rewards cards out there, the cards with some of the best benefits usually come with an annual fee. The good news is that it’s possible to have a credit card with great benefits and avoid paying an annual fee.
Ask for the fee to be waived
Your business is important to your card issuer, and the world of credit cards is full of competitors that could take your business away. So, if you are interested in keeping your credit card without the annual fee, give your issuer a call and simply ask them to waive it.
It’s possible they will waive it outright, but more than likely they will find a way to credit you the amount through a statement credit or additional rewards. If simply asking a representative doesn’t get you the results you hope for, ask to be transferred to the retention department. The representatives in this department will have more power to negotiate a deal concerning your fee.
Use your rewards to make up for the fee
The whole point of having a rewards card is to get the most out the rewards you can earn. Whether you are earning miles, points, or cash back, it’s important to take advantage of as many rewards possibilities as you can. That said, your rewards often have more value than just hotel stays and flights. Miles can often be converted to a dollar value and so can points. Aim to earn enough miles or points to get a statement credit for the amount of your annual fee. If you are working with a cash back card, you can work to earn enough cash back to cover your fee.
Switch to a different card
If you’re not getting enough back from your credit card to justify its annual fee, it may be time to switch your cards. Contact your credit card issuer to see if you can change your account to another card with a lower fee or, even better, no annual fee. If your account is in good standing, your issuer will likely be more than happy to do this for you. It means that they get to keep you on as a responsible cardholder, just with a different card property. One example would be switching from the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (annual fee of $95) to the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card which has no annual fee. Both offer rewards miles, though the VentureOne card offers a reward of 1.25x miles per purchase versus the Venture card’s 2x miles per purchase. The VentureOne’s variable APR is 15.49 to 25.49 percent. Just make sure any existing points or miles will transfer before switching cards.
Get a card with no annual fee
While many of the big players for credit card rewards charge an annual fee, there are quite a few cards that offer great rewards at no extra cost to you. One card in this category is the Citi® Double Cash Card, which offers 1 percent cash back on purchases and another 1 percent when you pay for your purchases. The Double Cash Card is also a great card for balance transfers, offering a zero percent introductory APR for balance transfers for the first 18 months (13.99 to 23.99 percent variable thereafter). And if you’re looking for travel rewards, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers 1.5 points towards travel for every dollar you spend and zero percent introductory purchase APR for the first 12 billing cycles (16.49 to 24.49 percent variable thereafter).
Get a card that waives the fee
While many rewards cards have an annual fee, they will often waive the fee for the first year or a bit longer. You could take advantage of the free year to earn points. Then it would be up to you to decide whether it’s worth it to keep the card.
Cancel the card
If you find that the annual fee for your card is not balancing out with the rewards you’re receiving, it may be time to consider canceling your account. If you do ultimately decide to close your account, there are some important things to keep in mind. The first being the possible loss of rewards points. If you can transfer your points to another loyalty program, say an airline or another card, you’ll want to do that before you close your account. If your points aren’t transferable, try to use them before you close your account.
Another thing to consider before closing your account is the effect that will have on your credit score. Closing an account can hurt your credit score due to a number of factors, so make sure you’ve considered all of your options before going ahead with this option.