I recently made a call to the bank affiliated with my credit card, to request for a waiver in annual fee. I am not specifically mentioning the name of the bank here, because I have had similar experiences with Citibank, HSBC and also Alliance Bank, so this really applies to all banks who charge an annual fee.
Anyway, formalities aside, after I was asked to verify my identity with the typical passcode and obligatory questions, I asked if they could waive my annual fee. My backup plan, of course, was that if they said no, I would then threaten to cancel my card.
Turns out I didn’t need to do that, because the customer officer told me, after checking my account, that she would waive the annual fee for me since I had already made a minimum of 12 transactions in a year.
So then I asked her, “If I had not called up, would the annual fee be automatically waived?”
She said yes, but EVEN if it wasn’t, I could still call in and request for an annual fee reversal. She didn’t sound exactly confident it would be waived, by the way. (Actually in my past experience, the annual fee has NEVER been automatically waived before).
But anyway, I’ve been thinking… why do these “supposedly” consumer-friendly banks need to WAIT for customers to call in to trigger the waiver of annual fee? Since it is already their practice to waive the fee when a customer has made a minimum of 12 transactions, why can’t they program this rule into the program’s algorithm? I definitely know that is possible. Is it because they want to earn some annual moolah from those customers who fail or forget to call up, either out of ignorance or just because they simply don’t care?
If the banks automatically waive the annual fee for customers that deserve it, they would certainly spare the customers the hassle of having to remember to call up to waive the annual fee, and at the same time, the bank would earn brownie points for this proactive service. After all, it’s the relationship between the bank and the customer that counts.
For someone like me who uses the credit card as an instrument to facilitate payment of purchases, and not as a tool to overspend, all I need is a card, without the need to pay the annual fee. Of course, for those of you who don’t mind paying the fee every year, you can just disregard my rant above. Or perhaps I’d be better off just using the free-for-life credit cards, like the one I have from CIMB bank…