SAN ANTONIO — Oops—you messed up and missed a payment on your credit card. It's a pricy mistake to make, one which can cost you up to $40 in late fees while slashing points off your credit score.
“A single late payment can remain on your credit reports for seven years,” said Nathan Grant, a credit card analyst with CreditCardInsider.
Credit cards do not advertise it, but they can remove the charge in some cases. You need to do just one thing:
“Just ask nicely,” Grant said.
You are likely to have success.
“Eighty-two percent of people who asked for a late fee waiver got one,” said Ted Rossman, a credit industry analyst with Bankrate. “You can’t do it all the time, but maybe once a year. If it’s an honest mistake, you slipped up, just be honest.”
The best way to reach out:
“Call the number on the back of your card,” said Grant.
“I think it’s a little bit harder for somebody to say no to you when you’re actually on the phone and you’re, hopefully, politely pleading your case,” Rossman said.
This can also work for getting annual fees refunded, especially if you were not able to use the card’s perks like travel points during the pandemic. Here is the approach to use:
“I didn’t travel this year. I didn’t take advantage of the perks. I’m a good customer,” Rossman said. “I’ve been with you a while. I pay on time. I’ve heard of people getting really substantial fees waived as high as $500.”
Plus, there is a bonus for military members.
“There’s the Service Members Civil Relief Act that actually waives annual fees for many credit cards for those who are serving,” Grant said.
You might also ask for a better interest rate while you have your credit card on the line.
“That works about 78% of the time,” Rossman said. “To be fair, they probably won’t bring it down to zero, but even if you went from 15 to 12 or 10, every little bit counts.”
Yet, hardly anyone asks. Bankrate found only 14% of cardholders a requested a lower rate.
Need a higher credit limit? Well, you know what do. Just ask. Doing so in any of these cases will not hurt your credit score.
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