If you have a good credit score, you can probably get approved for a credit card that doesn’t have an annual fee. The benefits? You’ll have a credit card without being stuck with an annual fee, and you’ll be happier.
Consumers with no-annual-fee credit cards were twice as likely to be satisfied with their card than consumers with annual-fee cards—70 percent to 35 percent—according to a recent survey from Discover, a major issuer of no-fee credit cards.
The main drawback is that most cards without annual fees don’t have benefits such as travel rewards points and cash-back rewards that annual-fee cards do. Nearly 70 percent of credit cards don’t charge an annual fee, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a card without a fee. Of those that do, the average annual fee is $110.
If you still want those perks, you can search for a no-fee card that offers them—though it will probably be at a lesser amount than a fee-card would offer.
Or, you can ask a credit card company to drop its fee. Most will usually drop the fee in the first year for new customers, but after that, you have to ask for it to be waived. The better credit score you have, the more likely you are to be approved for a fee waiver.
If that doesn’t work, tell the customer service representative that you’re considering canceling your card. You should then be transferred to the retentions department, which may give you some options so that you’ll remain a customer, including waiving the annual fee. You could even get bonus points or miles worth the annual fee.
A credit card issuer may allow you to downgrade your card to one with lower rewards and no annual fee. This may be worthwhile if you aren’t earning enough rewards to justify the annual fee.
Some credit cards allow users to redeem rewards points to pay the annual fee. Others waive the annual fee if you spend so much per year on the card.
Of course, if a rewards card, with or without an annual fee, is causing you to overspend or pay interest on the charges, then it’s not worth having. No fee is worth going into debt, and the value of rewards points is cut back by a fee or interest paid.