Without a doubt, one of the most annoying fees that credit cardholders have to pay is the annual fee. Majority of cardholders are familiar with this fee and majority of us likely pay this grudgingly year after year after year.
In the case of my credit card with BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands), I’m charged P2,050.00 per year. For my Citibank credit card, it’s P2,500.00 per year. That’s a lot of cash I could have spent on other things!
Why are we charged an annual fee in the first place? Simply put, it is billed to us just because “we’re using the credit card”. Think of it as sort of a “membership fee” that we have to pay to be able to use the card.
Sucks, right? Fortunately there are ways to end this annual burden. I identify below three (3) valid ways to waive or totally eliminate this annual membership fee.
I can guarantee that I’ve tried all methods below and they work! I never got to pay any annual fee with my BPI credit card since I first got it back in 2007! That’s more than P30,000 worth of annual fees that I never had to pay.
It’s a hit-and-miss, though, for Citibank and BDO, because sometimes they waive my annual fees but other times, they don’t. In 2020, I tried Method #1 below and called Citibank but they told me that they won’t waive the annual fee but, interestingly, gave me a guarantee that my Shell Citi credit card fee in 2021 will be automatically waived. They did!
But in 2022, Citi again charged me the annual fee. I tried Method #1 again but they did not budge so I resorted to Method #2 and, alas, it worked! More details of this story below.
So how to convince credit card companies to waive the annual fee? Try any of these three (3) tried-and-tested ways:
- Call the bank and ask to have the annual fee waived.
- Tell them you’re planning to cancel your credit card.
- Choose a credit card that offers “No Annual Fee”.
It may not work for you every time but if it would, congratulations and welcome to the “My credit card’s annual fee got waived” club!
Method #1: Call the bank and ask to have the annual fee waived.
Not a lot of credit cardholders know this, but you can simply call the bank or credit card company and request to have your annual membership fee waived.
In fact, this is the method I’ve used every single year since I got my first BPI credit card back in 2007, and it has worked for me every year without fail — saving me more than P30,000 worth of annual fees through the years!
How to ask BPI to waive your credit card fee?
The fee actually still appears in my monthly statement, but what I do the moment I see it in the billing is call BPI’s hotline to request for it to be waived. In recent years, though, instead of calling the BPI customer service hotline number — because sometimes it takes them a long time to answer — I just approach the branch manager or relationship manager in my branch of account. I ask the manager to request, on my behalf, BPI’s credit cards division to have the fee waived. They’re usually OK with this especially if you’ve been a long-time client of the bank.
This system has not failed me every single year which is why I’m happy to be a BPI credit cardholder since 2007 because I’ve not paid a cent of the annual fee.
Technically, I still pay it but what happens is that the annual fee I paid is reimbursed by the next billing cycle and shown as a “Reversal” or “Advance Payment” that is credited to my account. (Alternatively, you can also choose to not pay the fee and wait for it to be reversed, assuming you got an official confirmation that BPI will indeed waive the fee.)
The photo below is an example of my BPI credit card statement showing the annual fee of P2,050 that was charged in July 16 which was waived and credited back to my account in August 6.
In 2020, BPI surprised me by instantly waiving my credit card annual fee without me having to file a request. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I could not visit my branch of account, but I was delightfully surprised that I didn’t have to call BPI just to have the fee waived.
Here’s the text message from BPI informing me that my annual fee has been automatically waived in 2020. Thank you, BPI!
Tip: if you’re a Preferred Banking client of BPI, you may call their Preferred Banking hotline at (+632) 7791-0077 so you won’t have to wait several minutes to talk to a customer service (CS) agent. Takes me less than 30 seconds to speak to an agent who can help me with this annual fee waiver request every time!
Actually, the decision whether your waiver request will be granted depends on your credit history and usage of the card. If you’re a cardholder in good standing, BPI typically grants this request. They usually check first your monthly card usage and payments history, and if you have been assessed as a customer in good standing, they usually decide to waive the fee.
One time, I called the BPI hotline to request the waiver of my annual fee and the CS representative checked how much my credit card spending was in the previous three months. I assume if I wasn’t actively using the card then I won’t be given the waiver request. After checking my card usage, the CS representative told me that I’m qualified to have the fee waived, but on the condition that I use my card with minimum spending of P20,000 within the next three months.
I asked if that amount was the required spending every month for 3 months, but I was told it’s just cumulative amount for 3 months total. Since I’ve been spending more than that anyway, I agreed and the CS representative told me to check the next billing statement and I should see a refund of the annual fee that I paid.
Annual credit card fee waived! Success!
It helps to be polite and courteous when negotiating, of course, so don’t get hot-tempered and never curse the CS agent on the other end of the line!
Not everyone, though, is qualified to receive the annual fee waiver. I’ve heard that banks typically assess the cardholder’s spending or credit rating or even payment defaults history. If you’ve been remiss several times in your monthly payments or have cumulative finance charges that remain unpaid over the years, there might be a big chance that your request to waive the fee will be declined.
How to request to have the Citibank credit card fee waived?
In 2020, I called Citibank’s hotline to request to have the annual fee of my Shell Citi card waived. The customer support agent told me that unfortunately, Citibank is not waiving the fee. This supposedly applies to all Shell Citi credit cardholders that year. Well, that sucks.
The silver lining is that the CS agent told me that I’m eligible to receive the annual fee waiver in 2021. He even gave me a reference number as proof that this transaction is a go for 2021. I did receive the annual fee waiver that year, but got charged again in 2022. This time, I used Method #2 below to have my annual fee waived.
(Tip! If you want a credit card that waives the annual fee, apply for a Citi Rewards credit card below. Just click the image and apply online.)
Method #2: Tell the bank you’re planning to cancel your credit card.
If method number 1 didn’t work, sometimes threatening the bank that you’re canceling the card and switching to a competitor could lead them to giving in and to grant the annual fee waiver. They want to make money from you, of course, and sometimes they yield in an attempt to keep you as customer.
In 2022, as soon as I saw the annual fee in my billing statement, I called Citibank* but was told the waiver request can and must only be filed via their website. I submitted the waiver request form, but received a message days later that my request was denied. Time to use Method #2!
I called Citibank again and asked to talk to someone who can assist me in cancelling my card. I was asked why I want to cancel the card and I told the customer service agent that I don’t want to pay the annual fee. Since I own credit cards from other banks that do not charge these fees, no need for me to keep my Citi credit card, I said. He filed a report and told me that my cancellation request will be elevated to another group and I should expect a call from them the next day.
Guess what, instead of a call about my credit card cancellation, I received this SMS message instead granting me the annual fee waiver! Hooray!
The SMS message from Citibank goes: “We received your request to close your Citi credit card ending in xxxx. As we value your relationship with us, we have reversed your annual fee…”
It thus helps to explain that the annual fee is a big reason why you’re thinking of making the switch. You can say that you’re contemplating on using another credit card because the issuing company is offering to waive the annual fee.
Try telling them:
“I’d like to keep using your credit card, but the annual fee is one reason why I’m no longer inclined on using it. It has benefits and rewards similar to credit card XXX but they’re offering to waive the first year’s annual fee, so I’m thinking of canceling this card in order to avail of that card.
Do you have retention offers that I can consider before I go about canceling this card?”
Research shows that it costs businesses more money to acquire a new customer than to retain current ones, so they’d likely not let you go that easily, especially if they see that it’s profitable to keep you as customer.
Sometimes, they will volunteer to waive the card’s fee to incentivize you to remain with them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t because like in Method #1 above, they’d usually check if you have good credit standing and if they can indeed make money from you.
Again, good negotiation skill is key. If there’s a sizable credit card purchase you’re planning in the next few months, you can also use that as leverage. You could say:
“I will be booking flight tickets to Japan for my family next month and I’m planning to use this credit card to pay for this purchase. If I spend P50,000 using this card in the next 3 months, is it possible for you to waive the annual fee?”
Of course, don’t lie about possible purchases that won’t happen and don’t set conditions that you won’t be able to meet! It’s important to communicate clearly that you’re indeed planning on canceling the card and not just bluffing.
Be clear about the reasons why you’re no longer interested on using the card. Don’t just cite the annual fee.
You could say some terms and conditions changed (like the conversion rate for points or rewards became higher) or you’re not satisfied with customer service because it took you several minutes to talk to a Customer Support agent when you discovered a fraudulent transaction on your card.
Provide useful, solid feedback so that they’ll know that they’re actually losing a customer. At times, they will respond with retention offers, including waiving the annual fee, to convince you to reconsider your decision.
Again, use this method only if you’re ready to actually go through the cancellation. Otherwise, the credit card company could call your bluff and they might ask you to pay and settle all unpaid balance to close your account!
Method #3: Choose a credit card that offers “No Annual Fee.”
These days, several credit card issuers offer cards with the benefit of waived annual fee, especially during the first year. Take advantage of these offers.
Of course, we know that this is simply a bait to acquire new customers and even if they won’t earn from the annual fee, they still can make lots of money through credit card finance charges, annual percentage rates or APR, penalty fees, etc. But if you’re looking to get a credit card, opting for one with waived fees on the first year could certainly save you some cash.
Better yet, choose cards that offer no lifetime annual fees. Yup, no annual fees forever!
These extraordinary cards are typically used by banks to lure you to switch with the hopes of locking you in for life. Again, there are still other fees that you’ll need to pay as a consequence of using the card, but with these types of cards, the annual fee won’t be a problem anymore.
Credit Cards in the Philippines with No Annual Fee
Here’s a list of credit cards in the Philippines that offer waived lifetime annual fees or no annual fees forever.
|Credit Card||Annual Fee Waiver|
|AUB Classic Mastercard||No annual fee for life (principal and two supplementary cardholders)|
|AUB Easy Mastercard||No annual fee for life (principal and two supplementary cardholders)|
|Citi Simplicity+ Card||No annual fee for life|
|EastWest Platinum Mastercard||No annual fee for life (principal and supplementary cardholders)|
|EastWest Priority Visa Infinite||No annual fee for life (principal and supplementary cardholders)|
|Metrobank M Free Mastercard||No annual fee for life|
|PSBank Credit Mastercard||No annual fee for life|
|PNB The Travel Club Platinum Mastercard||No annual fee for life|
|PNB Ze-Lo Mastercard||No annual fee for life|
|Robinsons Bank DOS Mastercard||No annual fee for life, if used 12 times or more within a year|
|Security Bank Next Mastercard||No annual fee for life (principal and supplementary cardholders)|
(Promo! Citibank’s Rewards credit card does not charge any annual fee forever. Click here to apply for a Citi Rewards credit card.)
Stories of How to Ask Banks to Waive the Annual Fee
After we’ve written this article, we received a lot of comments from PinoyMoneyTalk readers who shared their stories on how they also got to have their credit card annual fees waived. We’re reproducing them below so you can learn from their experience!
“I always pay the total balance on time so I never have finance charges and late fees; I have a good credit standing. I usually just tell the agent to cancel my card if they won’t waive the annual fee and they gladly waive them with no conditions.”– Joanne M.
I have a BDO Credit Card and every time I request for waiving [the annual fee], it was always granted. Of course, need a good history of payments. But in Metrobank, they always have requirements to purchase or a condition to waive your annual fee.– Ian
Citibank does not waive any annual fees anymore. I’ve tried. They don’t do it. I spent a whole 30 minutes to 1 hour on the phone trying to convince them. You have to have 20,000 points. Php 30 for 1 point. For annual fee to be waived, you need to have Php 600,000 spent.– RC_KUNOICHI
Seems like Citibank does not waive annual fees this year. Called them up, failed to have mine waived.– Vito A.
I just had requested to waive my annual fee sa Metrobank and they gave me 3 options: 1. Spend a particular amount; 2. Go paperless; or 3. Enroll a utility bill. I chose option 2.-BJC
I have a good credit standing with Metrobank for 5 years. I pay my bills on time and always in full. But Metrobank never waived my annual fee.– Alex
I work in BPO for credit cards and if you always pay your bill in full, you won’t get good credit standing because they don’t get to milk you through interest charges. Remember, that’s how bank earns from credit cards. They don’t get to earn from you, instead your account becomes a liability because they also spend something for their services to you. To get a good credit standing, always use your card but do not pay it in full always and make sure to keep your account current. (They also get money from you through late fees, so getting late 1x in every 8 bills perhaps will not hurt your credit.)– Mari Ela
I tried calling BPI before and the BPI agent said that I need to spend Php 9,000 in a month for them to waive the annual fee, else I’ll be charged. So I let my co-workers use and swipe my card. My 1st year’s annual fee was waived. Will do this again on my second year.– John David G.
Now you know some ways to eliminate your annual credit card fee burden. Try the steps above because if they work, you’ll surely be able to save a good amount of money every year! We hope to welcome you to the “Waived Annual Fees Club” soon!
*Update: Citibank credit cards are now under UnionBank of the Philippines (UBP), with the name, logo, trademarks, etc. used under license from Citi Group Inc.
31 thoughts on “How to Waive your Credit Card Annual Fee (BDO, BPI, Metrobank, RCBC, Citibank, UnionBank)”
Terrifying. Now i’ll hardly ever acquire a single one again
i have rcbc credit card for 4 years and never pay the annual fee even once, im a transactor and have a good credit standing, just one call and they will reverse the annual fee
How do you do this. Im a first timer in rcbc bankard. Can you give me advise?
I have a good credit standing with metrobank for 5 years, I pay my bills on time and always in full. But metrobank never waived my annual fee. I plan to switch to citibank cause the have better rewards system thank metrobank.
i work in BPO for credit cards and if you always pay your bill in full , you won’t get good credit standing because they don’t get to milk you thru interest charges. remember, that’s how bank earns from credit cards. they don’t get to earn from you, instead you’re account becomes liability because they spend something also for their services to you. to get a good credit standing is to always use your card but do not pay it in full always and make sure to keep your account current. ( they also get money from you thru late fees so getting late 1x in every 8 bills perhaps will not hurt your credit)
So far the best credit card for me is BPI. I have been a card holder for more than 10 years and I have been in good credit standing. Their phonebanking officers are very professional companred to Metrobank, eastwest and citibank. I am always pleased with every conversation with them over the phone. I recommend BPI credit card.
Seriously? BPI’s phonebanking is the worst of all banks in the Philippines. Call their hotline and you will almost never reach them. You will be on hold forever. I have a handful of cards from various banks so I know. Citibank, I can easily contact. Same with HSBC and RCBC. Metrobank, you would wait for a little, but BPI? You will be on hold forever. But I must admit, BPI is my favorite bank and credit card..hehe..poor phonebanking though..
I have a BDO Credit Card and every time I request for waiving it was always granted and of course need a good history of payments. But in Metrobank they has always requirements to purchase or a condition to waived your annual fee.
I don’t like BPI becoz they did not approve my first application to have a credit card without telling me the reason. And after that refusal they were aking me to have thier credit card. CRAZY Bank! and I have more bad experiences in thier branches! And I have changed my bank and I am very happy now with metro bank!
Banks are not obliged to explain why they didn’t approve you.
can we also try this tactic for the annual fee of a supplementary card?
I contacted citibank cebu hotline and requested for a membership fee being waive however
my request got declined :(( The next day I contacted citi manila and requested to got it waived or lease have a discount. The officer gave me 50% discount at least I got to pay Php1,400. I planned to apply for another credit card. Maybe metrobank M Card free. GOt disappointed because I was not rewarded for being a good payer
Update 2016: Citibank does not waive any annual fees anymore. I’ve tried. They don’t do it. I spent a whole 30 mins to 1 hour on the phone trying to convince them. You have to have 20,000 points. Php 30 for 1 point. For annual fee to be waived, you need to have Php 600,000 spent.
had the same experience too. I might just end my relationship with this cc company.
they refuse to waive the membership fee yet they offer lifetime free membership fee to new customers.
doesn’t make sense.
I just had my Annual Fee Waived on Citibank last month. Simply Because, I’m confident I’m willing to close the card if they won’t waive it, I paid my last transaction in Full, so i have zero credit. Also I have other credit cards, I can still use. They sensed that I don’t care if it’s closed. So they waive it for me.
Late update: I managed to get mine waived… Eventually. I basically cancelled my planned loan from them (also coz they fucked that up and didnt start the process for it, even tho I gave them the requirements weeks before), and I was going to cancel the card entirely, but they waived it.
If for some reason they really refuse to waive the annual fee, do I still have the pay the annual fee charged on the card before they completely close the account?
I have HSBC, BPI and BDO credit cards.. and for 10 years, 6 years and 5 years with each card, I’m always waived with annual fees 🙂 … I don’t need to threaten them because I really am willing to close any of them if they failed to waive my annual fee. The easiest of them to waive is BDO, but I love the rewards of HSBC more than any other cards.
I was sent credit card by a bank (that i didn’t even applied for) and i continuously waived annual fee since i dont even use it, and still on its envelop, now they billed me financial charges, when i finally decided to cancel it. still don’t understand it, so i refused paying it now it grew, is it possible to cancel it without paying it?
I was approached by a BPI credit card agent at the mall a year ago offering a BPI credit card. I was hesitant because I already have other credit cards (all with lifetime annual fee waived). Then the agent said that the annual fee is waived for life so with that said I applied.
The problem emerged a year after when I was charged for an annual fee. I called BPI’s customer service hotline more than once because of this.
First, the customer hotline agent told me to register for BPI express online for the annual fee to be waived, which I did. I was also informed that a BPI personnel will call me within 3 banking days acknowledging my request. Unfortunately, no one called so I called the hotline again. Then the agent asked if I purchased a minimum of P5,000 after the credit card was issued because she said that that was the criteria for approval of the lifetime annual fee. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy on hand of my first statement during the time I called but I was given a reference number for the request of annual fee waived. I also got confused because I was already asked to register to BPI express online so why will I be asked about this.
Nevertheless, when I was able to find my first statement after the issue of the credit card (where I availed of the criteria of purchasing an item of more than P5,000), I called the BPI hotline again and asked the status of the charged annual fee. I was informed that the request for annual fee was reversed but my account is not tagged for lifetime annual fee, which i find improper because why would I be offered a credit card a year earlier free from annual fee for life then be billed for it a year after? I would not be getting a credit card if I knew I will be charged an annual fee.
Then when I called again, the CSR said that not all approved applications are given the waived annual fee for life. So why would they offer such, even in the malls and say that the offer is lifetime annual fee waived once approved, when the truth is it’s not? Then they said that the agents at the mall are not their employees so it’s like the company is not accountable. Is this even an acceptable and ethical practice for these agents to represent BPI and say such statements that life time annual fee waived once approved, when in fact whatever they say is not what BPI’s intention? They misled people.
I had a horrible experience with BPI too. I’ve been a cardholder for 10 yrs and I was a former BPI employee so I really felt upset with this situation. I have a zero balance on my card, i dont use my card coz i live abroad but still want to keep my card since I got this when I was still working with BPI.
3 weeks before my due date I sent them an email to request to waive my membership fee. I got an edge card that has a monthly membership fee. Usually it would take one email or call, and the fee will be waived. But now, you will go through hell and yet your request is still not granted.
BPI has no idea how hard is it to call their hotline. It will take a lot of time and lots of call credits before you even get someone to talk to. Consider it ur lucky day once you get a rep. Its even harder when you dont have a landline. I even remember paying more than P1000 when I called their hotline from my office abroad, bcoz the call log was too long and its a personal call so I have no choice but to pay it. Even now im in PH, i have to go find a payphone so I can call them. It took me days and weeks to go back & forth to different stores with payphones bcoz most of time the hotline number is not working, not even ringing. I tried my cellphone out of frustration and wasted P300 load card for nothing. I even go to a BPI branch near me just to check if there are any issues with their hotline, all she said was “ok naman yung hotline”. I even shared to her my difficulty of contacting them, I was hoping that maybe she will offer to call the hotline for me since I said I tried several PAYPHONES already but no, she didnt. Before calling them I also sent them several emails regarding my request, the reply took 3-5 days and all they will tell you is that someone will call you, but no one did. They will even give you a call log that someone tried to call but my phone didnt ring even once in those time frame that they mentioned. I live in Makati, not in the mountains, I am positive that my phone has a very strong signal.
So I began calling them, after so many attempts, I talked to a lady rep yesterday. She said I need to use my card for P9000 in 3 months if I want to waive the membership fee. I told her i dont live here, i will not stay that long and will not be using the card and all she said is “its our current policy”. 10 years, zero balance and she want me to spend 9K, is she f*ck*ng kidding me. So I said I want to cancel my card now, she said someone will call me to process the cancellation. I said no, cancel my card now, transfer me to that department so I cancel it right now bcoz it is so hard to contact you and now I got someone on the phone i dont want to waste that opportunity to do everything that I needed to do with this damn card. The ending, she still insists that i will get a call for my request to cancel the card. Next day, I waited, still no call. I even gave them my husband’s number just in case they will tell me again about their fake attempts of calling me. I already knew that I wont get a call, bcoz they already told me that before when I was still emailing them. I dont know what else to do now, maybe i will go straight to their office and cut my card in pieces and shove it in their faces.
Shout out to all BPI employees that Ive been in contact with via email, to the ladies in BPI Family J.P. Rizal branch and to you Izzy, the phonebanker i spoke with yesterday. Your services sucks! Email reply will take a week, hotline number that has 90% downtime (unable to reach most of the time), long waiting time not just in your branch but also via phone, reps that shows no empathy or willingness to help and will promise to contact you but never did. You made my 10th year with you a blast! It’s one hell of experience! (literally) I thought I want to keep your card, but not anymore. Keeping your card is a nightmare!
HSBC and RCBC customer service are way better than you!
eh di nag apply ako ng Citibank sabi free annual fee daw tpos today nag e-mail sila. na effective feb 1 2018 wala nang free annual fee kapag ndi ka naka spend ng 180k. sa tingin ko ndi maganda c citi. sasabihin nya free annual fee pero babawiin din.
Hi, I recently applied to Citibank. I think I got approved because i got an email but I do not know if my annual fee is waived for life. How do I know if my annual fees are waived?? I want my annual fee to be waived for life. Can I request for this? They had a promo before that they waived annual fees for life but it ended Jan 15, 2018 and I applied just recently, Feb 2018.
You are barking at the wrong tree. Why post that question here? why not just call them?
I have Bpi cc now I would like to waive my annual fee bit I cant call them at there hotline # so i just email them. But no rply what will I do now??plz advice.
I just had requested to waive my annual fee sa Metrobank and they gave me 3 options: 1. Spend a particular amount 2. Go paperless and 3. Enroll a utility bill. I chose option 2.
It is difficult to imagine life without credit cards, because it is so convenient. I buy mostly everything over the Internet. And during the quarantine I often sit on the portal and there I also pay for everything with a Bank card.
I also had really sad memories about BPI. I wish to never bank with them in my lifetime.
Thank you for this article! My BDO CC annual fee will be reversed. Request it to their hotline at the back of your card. They had some conditions, too, depending if you could agree with them or not. Like applying in auto-payment options or having the annual fee waived if you recently had a 3,000-peso purchase.
And during the quarantine I often sit on the portal and there I also pay for everything with a Bank card.
Very informative blog! glad that i bumped into this article since it helped me a lot by figuring out how to waive my cards in banks. thank you for sharing this one. i hope you’ll help other people through your blogs. thank you again!