Saving

Use this Script to Negotiate Credit Card Late Fees

Today, learn a powerful technique for negotiating late fees on your credit card. Nobody’s perfect. Accidents happen, and you might miss a credit card payment at some point. When this happens, you can use this script — tested thousands of times — to get the fees instantly waived. Here’s what to say to immediately beat a late payment:

You: Hi, I noticed I missed a payment, and I wanted to confirm that this won’t affect my credit score.

Credit Card rep: Let me check on that. No, the late fee will be applied, but it won’t affect your credit score.

(Note: If you pay within a few days of your missed bill, it usually won’t be reported to the credit agencies. Call them to be sure.)

You: Thank you! I’m really happy to hear that. Now, about that fee… I understand I was late, but I’d like to have it waived.

Credit Card rep: Why?

You: It was a mistake and it won’t happen again, so I’d like to have the fee removed.

(Note: Always end your sentence with strength. Don’t say, “Can you remove this?” Say, “I’d like to have this removed.”) At this point, you have a better-than-50-percent chance of getting the fee credited to your account. But just in case you get an especially tough rep, here’s what to say.

Credit Card rep: I’m very sorry, but we can’t refund that fee. I can try to get you our latest blah blah marketing pitch blah blah. . . .

You: I’m sorry, but I’ve been a customer for four years and I’d hate for this one fee to drive me away from your service. What can you do to remove the late fee?

Credit Card rep: Hmm…let me check on that. Yes, I was able to remove the fee this time. It’s been credited to your account.

You don’t believe me that it’s that simple? It is. Anyone can do it. Support reps at credit card companies are literally trained to react this way when you say these things to them. It’s their job to retain you, and that includes letting the occasional late payment slide.

Keep in mind that this won’t work forever. If you consistently blow off your payments and gain a reputation as a “problem customer,” no script can save you. But if you’re an overall good customer and sometimes fall back, this will usually get you out of paying.

Here’s what some of my students say:

“I just made two calls, got one late fee reversed with Men’s Wearhouse, and $70 worth of Wells Fargo ATM fees that I racked up while out of the country, wiped out. Took about 10 minutes – $85! That’s a rate of $510 per hour. Got late fees? Make a call to your company and just ask – easy way to save yourself some cash. (And thank you Ramit Sethi.)”

–Anthony Avila

Just got my credit card late fee refunded thanks to @ramit’s advice on negotiating bank fees. His book just paid for itself!

–Lingbo Li

@ramit Followed your advice… Called the bank, $19 in lame service charges wiped… Thanks great tip from the book.

–Josh Bellamy

Give it a shot. With a few minutes, you can get most late fees waived.

Ramit Sethi is the author of the New York Times best-selling book I Will Teach You To Be Rich and runs a blog of the same name with 300,000 monthly readers. Click here to get a free chapter from his book.