If you’re paying big monthly fees, credit card interest, or annual credit card fees, there’s a good chance you can get your money back. Here’s how!
1. Ask to get the interest you pay on your credit card back.
It’s always a good idea to make sure you pay off your credit card balance in full EVERY month. If you slip up, and end up paying interest, ask your bank for your money back.
Here’s an example. I always pay off my TD Aeroplan credit card every month. Once I mistook the date my bill was due, and ended up paying off my other credit card 20 days before it was due, and paying my TD bill 20 days late. So, I called TD, told them of my mistake and asked them to give me back the $36 interest they charged me for paying late. The rep on the line agreed and credited the money back to me instantly.
It was much easier than you’d ever imagine. You just need to make the call.
Now, you can’t do this every month, but if you make this mistake once, call and work with your bank. They want to keep you as a client, and they’re willing to help you out.
You just can’t abuse it.
2. Ask for a refund on bank fees.
Here’s another example. I noticed that RBC had double charged me for monthly banking fees for over 10 years, and I got them to give me back $360! That’s right, the bank actually gave me back my money.
Here’s the story, I’m originally from B.C. I now live in Ontario. For security reasons all major banks in Canada have 3 separate client databases. One for Western, one for Central, and one for Eastern. They do this so a hacker can’t come and take down the entire banking system at once. Makes sense, right?
Well when I moved to Toronto for university and wanted to get a line of credit at the bank, they told me the only way they could do it would be to open an Ontario bank account as well. Every credit line needs to be connected with an account, and they must be in the same region.
I didn’t think much of it, so I agreed. I think they even gave me 6 months of free monthly banking. “What I deal!” I blindly thought!
So now I had 2 bank accounts. And without realizing it, I was paying double the monthly fees for these accounts. I just happily went on my way, went to work, lived my life etc. etc. Until in late 2014 when I started to get extremely diligent in my finances when I said “Wait a second, that’s the banks problem that I have 2 chequing accounts. Why am I paying for their problem?”. So I went into my local branch, and asked for a refund for any duplicate charges.
My banker told me he would look into it and submitted a request for me. Great, I thought!
When I didn’t hear back a wekk later, I went back into the bank and asked “When should I expect that refund for the duplicate charges you processed on my accounts?”
And one month later, my banker emailed me and told me I was getting $350 back!
Hooray for found money!
3. Get your banker to give you money back (even if it’s your fault).
In yet another example I really wanted to get a certain credit card from TD…but it was past the point they were giving you the “free” card, and you had to pay a $150 annual fee. I don’t like fees like this. And as a new client, I definitely want some free perks. I know the banks have lots of flexibility and will do a lot to keep me as a client, and I have every intention of getting maximum value out of my bank.
So, I went to visit my banker over at TD. The conversation went like this:
Me: I really want this new certain credit card, but I’m not willing to pay the $150 annual fee. What can you do to help me?
Cheryl: Unfortunately the deadline has already past, so I can’t waive the fee.
Me: I know the deadline has passed. But I know that you’ll be able to find a way to work with me on this. What can you do?
Cheryl: Unfortunately I can’t. We emailed, advertised and promoted that “no fee” promotion for months, and even extended the deadline.
Me: Well, I can appreciate that. But I also know that I’ve been a great client for you. I have RESP’s, a chequing account, a savings account, mutual funds, another credit card, travel insurance, and my business bank account. You make so much money off me every year, and now I need to know that you are willing to work with me. I know you can make this happen.
Cheryl: (Awkward look). I’m really not allowed to waive that fee. The computer has hard coded it, and there’s no way I can give it back to you.
Me: Ok, so let’s see how you can give me an equivalent $150 back in banking services!
Cheryl: (Begrudgingly). Hmm, maybe we can refund your chequing account fees for 6 months. So that’s about $65.70?
Me: That’s a great start. What else can we do?
Cheryl: I’m not even supposed to do that. I can’t do anything else.
Me: I know you can find a way. What else can you do?
Cheryl: Maybe I can refund your business account monthly fees for the next 3 months? That’s $53.85. So with the chequing that’s a total of $119.55.
Me: Great. What else can we do?
Cheryl: That’s really all I can do. You’re killing me.
Me: Would it help you if I moved my accounts to your branch, so that it shows you brought in more accounts?
Cheryl: That would help, yes.
Me: Great, what else can you do so that we get back my $150?
Cheryl: Hmm. Let me see.
And so on and so on. I sat with my banker for about 1 hour going through everything to make sure I got back my $150. All it takes is a little persistence. Don’t leave money on the table. Ever. This is a lesson that I’m just starting to learn, so don’t feel remotely bad if the light bulb is just going on for you, too.
Now, when I visited my banker the next time she wasn’t too thrilled that I hustled her to get so much free stuff…so the next time I went in I brought her a coffee! And when I call to make an appointment I always say it’s her “Favourite Client” calling. A little personality goes a long way here. I don’t know if my banker wants to be my friend, but she definitely helps me. I’m demanding, but I’m not a bitch, and I’m always smiling and fun!
Moral of the Story: The bank rewards people who are extremely proactive, and takes the money of those who aren’t. I once heard that lots of the banks profits are made by charging $10 here, $2 there, $5 there. If it’s my $5, I want my money back!
The only difference between you keeping more of your money and you not, is YOU!
So go visit your bank and get some “found” money.
P.S. In case you’re wondering “Why does she even use a bank and not use a no fee chequing account?” I’m in the process of getting one, but I’ll always have a paid bank account. In fact, I’ll probably always have at least 2 accounts at different institutions.
It may seem crazy, but while I was living in Asia and back visiting Toronto on a long weekend, the bank thought my account activity was suspicious and locked me out of my accounts. All of them. Chequing. Visa. Line of Credit. I had access to ZERO dollars. And in order to re-open my account I needed to go into the branch. But it was a long weekend, and all banks were closed for 2 days in a row.
Thank God I had another bank card to use… or I literally would have been begging all my friends (who were recent university grads and also had NO money) to pay for my hotel, meals and transport for my whole visit.
Not a position I want to be in again!
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