I received a letter this weekend from Chase, the bank where my primary credit card is housed. The letter seemed all nice and fluffy. I am being “upgraded” to a new premier rewards program.
As I read on, the one page letter outlined that my account and card number would stay the same and my rewards would increase to 3% for gas and grocery purchases. That seemed fine. I like better rewards.
I kept reading and everything seemed great… And then I made it down to the end where they drop in a line saying that I will have to pay a $30 annual fee. Not going to happen.
As I have said in the past, your credit card should pay you. I will not pay an annual fee for my card. I plan to call Chase in the next week or so to discuss my new “premier” status. There is no annual fee for the first year, but I do not plan to stick around that long if they require my credit card terms change. I am happy to stay on the way I have my account today. The change in terms goes into effect on August 31st.
The potential outcomes of my call:
1. Chase lets me keep my current terms and I keep using my card regularly.
2. They upgrade me to the new program but waive the fee permanently.
3. I opt out of the Chase rewards program and leave the account open, but use another card with better rewards.
4. I close the account if they insist I pay a $30 annual fee.
Each of those options has ups and downs. I listed them in order of preference. As you all know, closing a credit account is not good for your credit score, so I want to avoid that if I can. I would prefer to just leave things the way they are if I can.
When I call, I will keep Ramit Sethi's I Will Teach You To Be Richin mind for customer service representative negotiations. You can almost always save money if you ask. From there perspective, I am a good customer. While I do not pay interest, they make a lot from merchant interchange fees on my card usage. They would loose all of that if they lose me as a customer. Keeping my account as it is today is win-win for both me and the bank. I hope all it takes is asking.
I will update you all sometime soon when I call Chase. The lesson to you is: Read your credit card mail. You never know what terms the bank is trying to slip into a nice, glossy letter.