As they say, "Lightning strikes the outhouse as well." Some, and the emphasis is on the word some, card issuers are waiving some of their fees. These include Bank of America, Wells Fargo and American Express.
Some of the credit card fees being eliminated include:
- Penalty interest rates charged on late payments of balances of $100 or less
- Foreign transaction fees for frequent business travelers
I know, I know; you say, I don't fit here. I'm late, but my balance is way over $100 and I never travel out of the country. Well, you may be in luck anyway.
First of all, soon the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection will be setting its policies. With all the bad publicity that credit and debit cards have been receiving, issuers now have a huge incentive not to be in the limelight when the bureau starts pointing fingers at offenders of it's new policies.
Secondly, revenues are down substantially at banks and issuers due to the Credit Card Act of 2009 which took effect early in 2010. Some fees were either outlawed, such as over the limit fees, or substantially reduced. Given that, the credit and debit card business is no different than any other, as it's far easier to maintain existing customers than it is to obtain new customers.
As a consumer, how can you best take advantage of these two motivators? Issuers are in a position to start negotiating. Even though you may not fit the two criteria outlined above, call them up. As them for a rate decrease; have them waive the annual fee; and if you're thinking of getting a new card and transferring all of your balances from other cards on to the new one, ask the prospective issuer to waive the balance transfer fees, which can be rather hefty.
Now that the card issuers have incentive to back off of some of the fees, do you have enough incentive to call them about it?