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 just had requested to waive my annual fee sa Metrobank and they gave me 3 options: 1. Spend a particular amount 2. Go paperless and 3. Enroll a utility bill. I chose option 2.

  2. I have Bpi cc now I would like to waive my annual fee bit I cant call them at there hotline # so i just email them. But no rply what will I do now??plz advice.

  3. Hi, I recently applied to Citibank. I think I got approved because i got an email but I do not know if my annual fee is waived for life. How do I know if my annual fees are waived?? I want my annual fee to be waived for life. Can I request for this? They had a promo before that they waived annual fees for life but it ended Jan 15, 2018 and I applied just recently, Feb 2018.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. I had a horrible experience with BPI too. I’ve been a cardholder for 10 yrs and I was a former BPI employee so I really felt upset with this situation. I have a zero balance on my card, i dont use my card coz i live abroad but still want to keep my card since I got this when I was still working with BPI.

      3 weeks before my due date I sent them an email to request to waive my membership fee. I got an edge card that has a monthly membership fee. Usually it would take one email or call, and the fee will be waived. But now, you will go through hell and yet your request is still not granted.

      BPI has no idea how hard is it to call their hotline. It will take a lot of time and lots of call credits before you even get someone to talk to. Consider it ur lucky day once you get a rep. Its even harder when you dont have a landline. I even remember paying more than P1000 when I called their hotline from my office abroad, bcoz the call log was too long and its a personal call so I have no choice but to pay it. Even now im in PH, i have to go find a payphone so I can call them. It took me days and weeks to go back & forth to different stores with payphones bcoz most of time the hotline number is not working, not even ringing. I tried my cellphone out of frustration and wasted P300 load card for nothing. I even go to a BPI branch near me just to check if there are any issues with their hotline, all she said was “ok naman yung hotline”. I even shared to her my difficulty of contacting them, I was hoping that maybe she will offer to call the hotline for me since I said I tried several PAYPHONES already but no, she didnt. Before calling them I also sent them several emails regarding my request, the reply took 3-5 days and all they will tell you is that someone will call you, but no one did. They will even give you a call log that someone tried to call but my phone didnt ring even once in those time frame that they mentioned. I live in Makati, not in the mountains, I am positive that my phone has a very strong signal.

      So I began calling them, after so many attempts, I talked to a lady rep yesterday. She said I need to use my card for P9000 in 3 months if I want to waive the membership fee. I told her i dont live here, i will not stay that long and will not be using the card and all she said is “its our current policy”. 10 years, zero balance and she want me to spend 9K, is she f*ck*ng kidding me. So I said I want to cancel my card now, she said someone will call me to process the cancellation. I said no, cancel my card now, transfer me to that department so I cancel it right now bcoz it is so hard to contact you and now I got someone on the phone i dont want to waste that opportunity to do everything that I needed to do with this damn card. The ending, she still insists that i will get a call for my request to cancel the card. Next day, I waited, still no call. I even gave them my husband’s number just in case they will tell me again about their fake attempts of calling me. I already knew that I wont get a call, bcoz they already told me that before when I was still emailing them. I dont know what else to do now, maybe i will go straight to their office and cut my card in pieces and shove it in their faces.

      Shout out to all BPI employees that Ive been in contact with via email, to the ladies in BPI Family J.P. Rizal branch and to you Izzy, the phonebanker i spoke with yesterday. Your services sucks! Email reply will take a week, hotline number that has 90% downtime (unable to reach most of the time), long waiting time not just in your branch but also via phone, reps that shows no empathy or willingness to help and will promise to contact you but never did. You made my 10th year with you a blast! It’s one hell of experience! (literally) I thought I want to keep your card, but not anymore. Keeping your card is a nightmare!

      HSBC and RCBC customer service are way better than you!

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

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