A Simple Trick to Get Your Credit Card Interest Charges Waived

By on

There is a faction of people who continue to insist credit cards are evil and credit card companies greedily care only about one thing: making a profit.

Can we get real and cease with the tired rhetoric? Credit card companies are not evil.

When it comes to profits, credit card companies are also no more greedy than, say, the Hollywood movie industry.

As someone who has been a credit card user for more than 20 years, I have never once been taken advantage of by a credit card company. In fact, they’ve always gone out of their way to ensure they keep me a satisfied customer – despite the fact that I’ve never paid a penny in interest to them over all that time. That’s just one reason why I refuse to cut up my credit cards – and why maybe you shouldn’t, either.

I know what you’re thinking: But, Len, how can that possibly be? Credit card companies don’t care about their customers!

They most certainly do. The competition out there between the credit card companies is fierce – especially for their best customers.

And just who are their best customers? Is it the poor sap who’s exceeded his credit limit and is making the minimum payment each month – at an interest rate of 29.9 percent – on a balance of $15,576? Nope.

Think about it. How on earth can a high credit-risk individual who’s always one missed payment away from defaulting on his debt and leaving the credit card companies holding the bag be their best customer?

The reality is a credit card company’s best customers are people like you and me: folks with superb credit who charge nearly everything they buy each month to their card and then pay the balance off in full at the end of each month.

Even though we don’t pay a cent of interest to them, the credit card companies love folks like you and me because we earn them a steady stream of income from the merchant transaction fees that are generated every time we use our cards. Best of all, because we are financially responsible, they have almost zero risk of us ever defaulting on thousands of dollars of their money. As a result, the credit card companies are more than happy to let us take advantage of them.

Which brings me to the subject of today’s post…

One day not too long ago, I noticed my wife and I were charged $107.47 interest on our credit card statement.

So I called customer service to say there must be some mistake. Unfortunately, there was no mistake at all. It turns out the credit card company received my payment one day beyond the end of the grace period, and so interest charges were applied as per the terms of the contract I agreed to when I first got the card. Fair enough.

Truth be told, this was the third or fourth time in 20 years that I had interest charges applied because a payment got to the credit card company a day or two late.

Hold on, Len. But you said you’ve never paid a dime of credit card interest in 20 years. How did you get the interest charges waived each time?

I simply asked.

And their reply was as swift as it was decisive, “That will be no problem at all, Mr. Penzo.”

Done.

Hey, why wouldn’t they waive the charges? I’m one of their best customers. Well-run corporations aren’t in business because they are stupid. They know I’d leave them in a New York minute if they let those charges stick, and I’m worth much more to them than $107.47.

Just keep in mind that if you make late payments more than once per year, it will probably take more than simply asking to get your credit card company to waive those interest fees. And who can blame them?

Credit card companies certainly aren’t evil. Not by a long shot. But they are in business to make money.

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

Check out our hottest deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,295 more deals!

Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.

  • Bill McLarty

    Just wanted to add my endorsement to your fine piece.  I’ve experienced the same responses from credit card companies on the few occasions I’ve been late, or in one case forgot to pay entirely until the ensuing month.  In that case my call resulted in a credit for both the interest and the late payment fee.  Like you, I pay my credit card bills in full each month, and have been doing so for over thirty years.

  • Bill McLarty

    Excellent piece.  I agree fully.  Like you, I pay my credit card bills in full every month, and have done so for around forty years.  A few months back I either didn’t get, or misplaced the bill, and didn’t realize it until the next bill included interest and late payment fees.  A quick telephone call got them both politely waived by the first representative with whom I spoke.

  • Anonymous

     

    I am stinging from the
    Len Penzo article about how “reasonable” credit cards are with their
    excellent credit customers like you and me.  My credit has always been
    excellent, and Chase solicited to me a large balance low “fixed interest
    rate” loan with payments 2% of the balance – I accepted.  Thereafter
    for 5 years I maintained an excellent payment record with Chase on this loan
    and my FICO score remained in the excellent range.  At this point Case
    informed me that my payments were being increased by 250%… with absolutely no
    justification for anything I did or did not do.  I told them I could not
    make those increased payments, particularly since I had just lost my job.
     They would do NOTHING to alleviate the situation.

     

    They insisted I make the
    250% higher payments, regardless of my unemployed status and my perfect credit
    record.  I should have stopped making any payments it was so outrageous,
    but I had to maintain my perfect credit score if I wanted a new employer to hire
    me.  The only way I could see to satisfy Chase’s greed to keep my credit
    score in good shape was to take a huge distribution from my IRA to pay down the
    Chase balance, so that I could afford to make the payments in my unemployed
    status. 

     

    Taking such a large IRA
    distribution triggered $8,000 income tax to pay IRS.  Do you think Chase
    cared?  Were they justified imposing such a huge financial penalty?
     After I’d taken the IRA withdrawal and paid down the Chase balance, I
    learned there was an option… they would restore a lower payment… IF I would
    agree to a 175% higher interest rate!  Sounds like “bait and
    switch” to me… after soliciting me to accept their “fixed rate loan
    until paid in full” – and 5 years later mandating that I accept a MUCH
    higher interest rate for the same loan.

     

    About 3 months after my
    payment increase, Chase reversed the new terms – restoring the old payment
    amounts to the original “fixed” rate terms.  I can only guess
    that Chase’s attorneys advised them of the unjustified action they had taken
    against this excellent customer.  But by this time, it was too late for me
    to re-deposit the IRS funds into my IRA.  Taxpayers have 60 days to
    re-deposit IRA funds without penalty or taxes, but Chase waited about 90 days
    so that I had no opportunity to be made whole… ALL because Chase was greedy
    and didn’t care a lick what damage and penalty they had caused this
    “excellent” customer with great credit score and several years of
    history with them.

     

    I did join a class
    action suit for what Chase did to many of us Prime customers, and maybe I’ll
    see 50 cents from it when it’s all over.  So it’s difficult to swallow the
    notion that these credit cards are so “reasonable.”  The economy
    has opened and shut the door behind me into retirement, so there’s never going
    to be any restoration – wished I didn’t grow up believing in “Truth…
    Justice… the American way.” Sondra Young

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6KKH3MLZ7ZVLGWQ7VGESNZX2RA Hussein

    Well if this is your opinion about credit card companies, I respect that, since it is the experience you have with “good” companies.Let me tell you mine- I was offered two credit cards, which I accepted some years back, with interest plus a 9.99 monthly maintenance fee. After a six months they closed the accounts arbitrarily and sent me to a different bank/address to send payments to, and continue to charge me maintenance fees even though the accounts are closed and there is no maintenance. Is this right? Is this legal?What can I do about this?