PhotoConsumers hate fees, whether they are levied by a bank or credit card company. Overdraft fees were such a major bone of contention a few years ago that Congress passed legislation to reduce them.

But fees don't always have to be paid. Sometimes, if you ask, a credit card company will waive them. And it happens a lot more than you might think.

CreditCards.com reports its latest research which shows that 87% of consumers who asked a credit card company to waive a late fee were successful. It also found that 69% of the time, if a customer asked a credit card company to lower the interest rate, the answer was "yes."

While it is true that banks and credit card companies depend more on fees than ever these days, it is also true that they are in a very competitive industry. Consumers have lots of options.

Competition works in your favor

In many cases, a credit card company would rather waive a fee once than possibly lose a customer. If a customer has a good credit score, he or she can open a new credit card account and transfer a high interest balance, often getting more than a year of 0% interest. Credit card companies know this.

That said, CreditCards.com found that only 25% of credit card customers ever asked for a waived fee or a lower interest rate. That means consumers are spending money needlessly.

There's even wiggle room when it comes to annual fees. Many rewards credit cards charge as much as $100 or more for the privilege of using their cards. But CreditCards.com found more than half of credit card customers in the U.S. were able to persuade the company to drop the fee altogether. Thirty-one percent were able to negotiate a lower fee.

More power than you realize

"People have far more power with their credit card company than they realize," said Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com's senior industry analyst. "Competition among card issuers is incredibly high these days and customer retention is a priority."

Schulz says you can't be afraid to ask for an exception because, very often, you're likely to get it.

That also holds true for credit limits. Of those customers who simply asked their credit card company to raise the card's credit limit, 89% got what they asked for.

As we have previously reported, this also works in other highly competitive services, such as insurance. If you have been with your insurance carrier for several years, chances are you can get a discount by saying you are shopping for a new policy.

If you are a senior citizen, or getting close to being one, you can get a discount almost anywhere. But, you have to ask for it. Again, surveys show most people don't.


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