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How to Avoid Paying your Annual Credit Card Fee

One of the fees majority of us credit card users find the most annoying is the annual credit card fee. This fee is something charged to us year after year after year.

Why are we charged this credit card fee in the first place? Simply speaking, it is billed to us just because “we’re using the credit card”.

Fortunately, there are ways to end this annual burden. Here are three of the valid ways to waive or totally eliminate the annual credit fee.

As a matter of fact, I’ve been using my BPI credit card for the past 10 years and I have NEVER ever paid the annual fee!

How to do it? Here are 3 ways.

1. Use a credit card that offers “Waived Annual Fee”.

Most banks these days issue credit cards with the benefit of waived annual first year’s fees. Take advantage of these offers.

Of course, we do know that this is a bait banks use because they still make a lot of money through credit card finance charges, annual percentage rates (APR), and even penalty fees. Waived annual fees are marketing tactics used by card issuers to entice users to patronize the card. Still, if you have a need for a credit card, opting for one with waived first year fee could already save you some money.

There are also cards that offer waived lifetime annual fees. Yup, waived annual fees — forever.

These extraordinary cards are typically used by banks to lure you to switch to the credit card company or to lock you in for life. Of course, there are the same interest and penalty fees charged to you depending on the usage but, at least, with a waived lifetime fee, you won’t be bothered anymore by annual fees — for life.

In the Philippines, some of the credit cards that offer waived lifetime annual fees include:

  • Almost all, if not all, of Citibank Philippines’ credit cards
  • Metrobank’s M card
  • HSBC’s Premier Mastercard
  • Allied Bank’s Travel Club
  • BPI e-Credit card
  • Security Bank’s e-Secure card

We’ll be publishing a more comprehensive list of credit cards in the Philippines offering waived annual fee benefits so make sure you’ve liked our Facebook page to be updated!

2. Request the bank to waive the annual fee.

Not a lot of credit card holders know this, but a simple call or request to waive the card’s annual fee could eliminate your fee burden.

In fact, this is what I have been using to waive my Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) credit card’s annual fee.

Since I got the card from BPI years ago, I’ve NEVER paid any membership or annual fees. Yup, never paid at all. I was able to save thousand of pesos worth of annual fees every year!

The fee still appears every year, though, in my billing statement. But what I do the moment the annual fee is charged to me is I approach the manager of my branch of account or call BPI’s hotline to request for it to be waived.

If you are a member in good standing, the bank would typically grant your request. What usually happens is that the annual fee is reimbursed and shown as “advance payment” in the next month’s billing statement.

Not everyone, though, is qualified for the annual fee waiver. I’ve heard that banks typically assess the cardholder’s usage of the card or overall credit rating. If you have been remiss in your monthly payments or have been charged cumulative finance charges over the years, there may be a big chance that banks would decline your request.

Still, try to approach the manager or call the bank to negotiate for a waiver of the annual fee. Who knows, they might waive those fees!

3. Inform the bank you’re canceling your card.

Sometimes, threatening the bank that you’re canceling your card and switching to another bank’s credit card could lead them to give you the annual fee waiver. They sometimes yield in an attempt to keep you as customer.

The moment you inform them of your decision to stop using the card, banks would normally volunteer to waive the card’s annual fee. But like in option #2 above, this usually requires that you have good credit standing with the bank.

You can also simply say that one reason you’re contemplating on switching to another credit card company is the latter’s offer of waived annual credit card fee. You can tell them that you’d want to keep your existing credit card but you hope that the company can waive your annual credit card fee.

Sometimes that works!

Now you know some ways to eliminate your annual membership fee burden. Try the steps above because if they work, you’ll be able to save thousands of pesos every year!

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23 thoughts on “How to Avoid Paying your Annual Credit Card Fee”

  1. rc_kunoichi says:

    Update 2016: Citibank does not waive any annual fees anymore. I’ve tried. They don’t do it. I spent a whole 30 mins to 1 hour on the phone trying to convince them. You have to have 20,000 points. Php 30 for 1 point. For annual fee to be waived, you need to have Php 600,000 spent.

    1. ferdie cortez says:

      had the same experience too. I might just end my relationship with this cc company.
      they refuse to waive the membership fee yet they offer lifetime free membership fee to new customers.

      doesn’t make sense.

    2. Gerzon says:

      I just had my Annual Fee Waived on Citibank last month. Simply Because, I’m confident I’m willing to close the card if they won’t waive it, I paid my last transaction in Full, so i have zero credit. Also I have other credit cards, I can still use. They sensed that I don’t care if it’s closed. So they waive it for me.

    3. rc_kunoichi says:

      Late update: I managed to get mine waived… Eventually. I basically cancelled my planned loan from them (also coz they fucked that up and didnt start the process for it, even tho I gave them the requirements weeks before), and I was going to cancel the card entirely, but they waived it.

    4. John says:

      If for some reason they really refuse to waive the annual fee, do I still have the pay the annual fee charged on the card before they completely close the account?

  2. Colleen Giron says:

    I have HSBC, BPI and BDO credit cards.. and for 10 years, 6 years and 5 years with each card, I’m always waived with annual fees :) … I don’t need to threaten them because I really am willing to close any of them if they failed to waive my annual fee. The easiest of them to waive is BDO, but I love the rewards of HSBC more than any other cards.

  3. Colleen Giron says:

    I have HSBC, BPI and BDO credit cards.. and for 10 years, 6 years and 5 years with each card, I’m always waived with annual fees :) s… I don’t need to threaten them because I really am willing to close any of them if they failed to waive my annual fee. The easiest of them to waive is BDO, but I love the rewards of HSBC more than any other cards.

  4. Anna rose says:

    I was sent credit card by a bank (that i didn’t even applied for) and i continuously waived annual fee since i dont even use it, and still on its envelop, now they billed me financial charges, when i finally decided to cancel it. still don’t understand it, so i refused paying it now it grew, is it possible to cancel it without paying it?

  5. Zel Velasco says:

    I was approached by a BPI credit card agent at the mall a year ago offering a BPI credit card. I was hesitant because I already have other credit cards (all with lifetime annual fee waived). Then the agent said that the annual fee is waived for life so with that said I applied.

    The problem emerged a year after when I was charged for an annual fee. I called BPI’s customer service hotline more than once because of this.

    First, the customer hotline agent told me to register for BPI express online for the annual fee to be waived, which I did. I was also informed that a BPI personnel will call me within 3 banking days acknowledging my request. Unfortunately, no one called so I called the hotline again. Then the agent asked if I purchased a minimum of P5,000 after the credit card was issued because she said that that was the criteria for approval of the lifetime annual fee. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy on hand of my first statement during the time I called but I was given a reference number for the request of annual fee waived. I also got confused because I was already asked to register to BPI express online so why will I be asked about this.

    Nevertheless, when I was able to find my first statement after the issue of the credit card (where I availed of the criteria of purchasing an item of more than P5,000), I called the BPI hotline again and asked the status of the charged annual fee. I was informed that the request for annual fee was reversed but my account is not tagged for lifetime annual fee, which i find improper because why would I be offered a credit card a year earlier free from annual fee for life then be billed for it a year after? I would not be getting a credit card if I knew I will be charged an annual fee.

    Then when I called again, the CSR said that not all approved applications are given the waived annual fee for life. So why would they offer such, even in the malls and say that the offer is lifetime annual fee waived once approved, when the truth is it’s not? Then they said that the agents at the mall are not their employees so it’s like the company is not accountable. Is this even an acceptable and ethical practice for these agents to represent BPI and say such statements that life time annual fee waived once approved, when in fact whatever they say is not what BPI’s intention? They misled people.

  6. Austin says:

    eh di nag apply ako ng Citibank sabi free annual fee daw tpos today nag e-mail sila. na effective feb 1 2018 wala nang free annual fee kapag ndi ka naka spend ng 180k. sa tingin ko ndi maganda c citi. sasabihin nya free annual fee pero babawiin din.

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