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I recently missed a credit card payment by one day (my first one ever in my history of credit starting from over 10 years ago), and I called the credit card company to have the late fee waived. I reasoned that this was a mistake, that I have excellent credit history (my score is very, very good too), and that it won't happen again.

I pay off my entire amount every month, and the credit card company agreed to waive the late fee. However, I was charged an interest on the balance that I had because I had missed the payment. I had tried calling them to waive the interest charges but had no luck.

Are credit card interest charges negotiable to be waived? I know late fee and interest fees (not charges) can be negotiated, but I was told this charge could not be. From my perspective, my activity would be worth more if I stayed as a customer than to let such a minuscule amount drive me away from their service.

What can I do to successfully negotiate the interest charge if possible? Is this something dependent on the company itself or will I have to bite the bullet and live with the charge?

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Be aware that you will be hit with a second interest charge because next month your account will have status "last statement balance not paid in full" and so all new transactions will bear interest from the day they are posted to the account. Unless the amount of interest is huge, I suggest writing off the interest that has already been charged as tuition fee for the lesson that one should always pay the balance in full in timely fashion. Also, charge as little as possible to the credit card this month so as to minimize the next interest payment. You will be OK the following month. –  Dilip Sarwate Dec 8 '12 at 16:08
    
@DilipSarwate Thanks for the comment. The amount of interest charged to me is indeed very little. Though I would like to not have to pay the interest, I can live with it and it is not something that will kill me. It was good to hear from the credit card company though that my missed payment will not affect my credit score since they don't report until 30 days after the due date. –  Matt Chan Dec 8 '12 at 21:21
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"Are credit card interest charges negotiable to be waived?" This is, of course, up to each card's discretion, but I can imagine them not wanting to "go down the road" of waiving customers' interest charges upon request--that is the basis of their entire business, and perhaps some things (from their perspective) ought to be written in stone. –  Chelonian Dec 9 '12 at 2:36
    
Maybe if you threaten to leave, the retentions department MIGHT be able to do this, but I agree with what @Chelonian said. This is precisely why I don't fool with credit cards anymore. If you are able to pay in full every month, why have the additional hassle factor of a due date? –  Waddler Dec 11 '12 at 17:45
    
I've missed my payment on various credit cards over the years and I've always had the fee waived but never had interest waived. –  Jeremy Stein Dec 12 '12 at 15:51

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

As the saying goes, anything is negotiable.

And in this case, I have had credit card interest amounts refunded before. I had not realized that a promotional APR had ended and a higher APR was in place. I was carrying a balance so I got hit with some interest. When I finally noticed, they agreed to go back and credit some back interest.

So yes, this is possible. However, it depends completely on your credit card provider, your account history, your current credit disposition, and more. It won't hurt to ask, but you may get "no" as an answer if they have a policy against it, or they don't see you as a big customer, or they're having a bad month for their bottom line, or if the moon is in the wrong phase.

Tips to try to get interest credited/waived would be the same as most when dealing with credit cards:

  • Ask to speak to a manager
  • Ask to speak to the cancellation department
  • Threaten to switch/balance-transfer to another card and cut this one up
  • Alternatively, ask if they have any promotions going on
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My bank actually did end up refunding the fee about 6 months later. It just showed up as a credit on my statement. –  Matt Chan Nov 9 '13 at 5:01

I think in this case it will be difficult to go back for another fee-cancel after you already got the penalty waived. But, anything is possible in theory.

Ramit Sethi has a lot of material on negotiating. http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/best-of-iwt-word-for-word-scripts/

His book also recommends putting your credit cards on auto-pay so you don't have to worry about this. I agree, and have done that for most of my cards.

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I have that book and used his script to negotiate the late fee in the first place. Unfortunately my credit card company is lame and doesn't have auto-pay to pay off my balance every month. Well, they actually do but I can't set it to be the amount I owe on my card. –  Matt Chan Dec 12 '12 at 2:24
    
You might want to call them and tell them what you're trying to do. Those systems are often so badly worded in terms of choices that it's possible the feature is there, just obscured by poor design. I found that with one of my accounts that I was automating. –  BillSeitz-3F Dec 17 '12 at 21:44

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