Americans have a pretty poor relationship with the idea of telephone customer service. By the time we enter our account information, navigate a phone tree, wait on hold, and are then asked to provide our information a second time, many of us are at least slightly agitated. Fortunately, contacting credit card customer service can offer several benefits, but only to those who ask the right questions.

Asking Customer Service To Reduce Fees

Nobody likes paying late fees for missing a payment and even expert credit card users make mistakes from time to time (yet another reason to always use credit card auto payments). Thankfully, many banks will forgive late fees for customers with a long history of paying on time. While banks love to profit from these fees, most know that the loss of a quality account holder is a much more costly proposition.

Another fee that can sometimes be waived by customer service is the annual fee. When contacting a credit card company’s customer service, ask to speak to the “customer retention” department. Representatives that work in these departments are tasked with preventing cardholders from closing their accounts.

Unlike the primary representatives that typically offer little to no help, these representatives are often empowered to reduce or to waive a customer’s annual fee in order to prevent them cancelling their accounts. Since card holders can close their accounts and not be responsible for the annual fee, the bank has little to lose by waiving these fees. In some situations, cardholders have been able to have other fees forgiven as well.  For example, cardholders who have returned from a trip outside the United States may be able to have their foreign transaction fees waived if a bank values their business enough.

Increasing Rewards

Rather than waiving an annual fee, banks may choose to offer customers some amount of loyalty points or miles to retain their business. In fact, many cardholders have reported success in contacting their bank simply to request more points or miles. Customer service representatives have been known to offer promotions that increase rewards, but only to those who ask. In other instances, customers have been able to receive a larger sign up bonus than the one originally given, simply by informing their bank that others had received better offers.

By taking a few minutes to contact customer service, cardholders will find that they have little to lose, and plenty to gain. And if that doesn’t work, there are always better promotions available. If your credit card company doesn’t want your business, promotions like the Chase Freedom $200 cash back bonus offer or the Citi Platinum 0% APR for 21 month balance transfer promotion can provide value your current company simply cannot match.

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