Why You Should Never Pay For Credit Card Annual Fees

Earlier this month, while Mr Budget routinely checks his credit card transaction, he realised that Standard Chartered has charged him the annual fee for the usage of the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback card. 

The total amount charged was S$192.60. 

If you do the math, you will realize that the amount is actually quite a huge amount.

Some background: Standard Chartered Unlimited Cash Back card is a no frills card that gives you a flat 1.5% cash back with no minimum spend, and there is no cap on the monthly cash back. So it is a pretty useful card if you have big purchases. 

To get a cash back of S$192.60, you will need to spend a total of S$3,852.

Splitting that into 12 months that will be a minimum monthly spent of S$321! 

What this means is that, if you are paying for the annual fee, and if over the past 12 preceding month, if you did not spend a minimum of S$321 on the card monthly to get the cash back, you will actually lose money for using the cash back card! 

So it makes absolutely no sense to pay for the annual fee, because you can easily go for other cash back cards option (eg the AMEX True Cashback card which essentially does the same thing). 

Being the stingy Mr Budget, he wrote in to request for a fee waiver. 

Of course, Standard Chartered replied with the following response: 

Apparently, there are no options for an online fee waiver request, and you have to do a phone waiver request. 

To my delight, the phone waiver fee request is actually very very simple, and upon keying in the credit card number, I received an instant confirmation of the fee waiver.

Earlier this year too, we had a similar experience with our DBS Live Fresh Card, where we requested for a fee waiver. Unlike Standard Chartered, you can request for a fee waiver digitally in just a few buttons. 

Here’s how it looks: 

Needless to say, the Live Fresh card annual fee was also waived earlier this year.

As shared in our previous article, it is probably a good time to do your credit card review as the year comes to an end to see if there are any unexpected charges, or if your credit card strategy can still be further optimised. 🙂 

Read: 7 Things To Check On Our Financial Check List Before The Year 2019 Ends

If your bank is charging you an annual fee and reject your fee waiver request, you should definitely swap out to another bank, because it makes little money sense to be paying for credit card annual fees (excluding the high banking tier credit cards). I’m sure most banks waive off their credit card fees nowadays to users with high credit score.

Which is why regular checking on your personal finances will allow you to identify financial gaps like this.

Also, since we are talking about credit cards, we’d be interested to know which is your primary credit card and what are you using it for.

Do let us know in the comments below! For us, it will be the UOB One Card, DBS Live Fresh, and then the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Card!

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