How to Avoid Paying your Credit Card’s Annual Fee


One of the most annoying fees that credit card holders have to pay is the annual credit card fee.

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

That sucks, but 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 tried all three ways below and I’ve never paid any annual fee with my BPI and Citibank credit cards in the last 10 years!

How to get the bank to waive your annual fee? Or how to eliminate this fee completely? Here are the ways.

1. Use a credit card that offers “No Annual Fee” or “Waived Annual Fee”.

These days, several credit card issuers offer credit cards with the benefit of waived annual fee, especially for the first year. Take advantage of these offers.

Of course, we know that this is simply a bait that 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 customers to own and use 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 no lifetime annual fees. Yup, no 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:

  • Metrobank’s M card
  • HSBC’s Premier Mastercard
  • Allied Bank’s Travel Club
  • BPI e-Credit card
  • Security Bank’s e-Secure card

We have another article talking about credit cards in the Philippines with waived or no annual fee. Click the link to find out which credit cards offer that benefit.

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 this burden. In fact, this is what I’ve used every single year — in the last 10 years — to waive the annual fee of my Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) credit card.

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, though, still appears every year 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 typically grants 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 credit rating or payment history. 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. Worked for me!

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 it 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!

For other useful tips about credit cards, like and follow PMT on Facebook!

Also read: 3 Tips How to Solve your Credit Card Debt Problem


29 thoughts on “How to Avoid Paying your Credit Card’s Annual Fee”

  1. 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.

  2. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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?

  3. I contacted citibank cebu hotline and requested for a membership fee being waive however
    my request got declined :(( The next day I contacted citi manila and requested to got it waived or lease have a discount. The officer gave me 50% discount at least I got to pay Php1,400. I planned to apply for another credit card. Maybe metrobank M Card free. GOt disappointed because I was not rewarded for being a good payer

  4. I don’t like BPI becoz they did not approve my first application to have a credit card without telling me the reason. And after that refusal they were aking me to have thier credit card. CRAZY Bank! and I have more bad experiences in thier branches! And I have changed my bank and I am very happy now with metro bank!

  5. I have a BDO Credit Card and every time I request for waiving it was always granted and of course need a good history of payments. But in Metrobank they has always requirements to purchase or a condition to waived your annual fee.

  6. So far the best credit card for me is BPI. I have been a card holder for more than 10 years and I have been in good credit standing. Their phonebanking officers are very professional companred to Metrobank, eastwest and citibank. I am always pleased with every conversation with them over the phone. I recommend BPI credit card.

    1. Seriously? BPI’s phonebanking is the worst of all banks in the Philippines. Call their hotline and you will almost never reach them. You will be on hold forever. I have a handful of cards from various banks so I know. Citibank, I can easily contact. Same with HSBC and RCBC. Metrobank, you would wait for a little, but BPI? You will be on hold forever. But I must admit, BPI is my favorite bank and credit card..hehe..poor phonebanking though..

  7. I have a good credit standing with metrobank for 5 years, I pay my bills on time and always in full. But metrobank never waived my annual fee. I plan to switch to citibank cause the have better rewards system thank metrobank.

    1. i work in BPO for credit cards and if you always pay your bill in full , you won’t get good credit standing because they don’t get to milk you thru interest charges. remember, that’s how bank earns from credit cards. they don’t get to earn from you, instead you’re account becomes liability because they spend something also for their services to you. to get a good credit standing is to always use your card but do not pay it in full always and make sure to keep your account current. ( they also get money from you thru late fees so getting late 1x in every 8 bills perhaps will not hurt your credit)

  8. i have rcbc credit card for 4 years and never pay the annual fee even once, im a transactor and have a good credit standing, just one call and they will reverse the annual fee

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