Talk Your Way Out of Bank Fees (Really!)


bank feeNo one likes a complainer, and for good reason.

But in some situations, giving an earful to your bank could actually benefit your bank account.

A survey found that griping could get some of those pesky bank fees waived—almost half of bank customers surveyed have successfully weaseled their way out of a fee.

And it’s not just mistakes they’re getting reversed—from penalty fees to late fees, banks are caving more than you’d think, even if the customer is at fault. 35% of those surveyed got an overdraft fee waived by complaining, and almost a quarter of respondents got their bank to nix a late payment fee. 10% even complained their way out of an annual fee.

But when we say “complain,” we don’t mean screaming into the phone. TIME points out that aggression won’t get you anywhere. Instead, a friendly attitude goes a long way … and you might want to remind them (nicely) of your previous loyalties as a customer.

RELATED: Sick of Your Bank? 4 Alternatives Worth Considering

Another piece of advice: If you’re not having much luck, hang up the phone and try again—you might be connected with a different, more understanding representative. Or ask to speak with a manager or supervisor, who may be more helpful and have more authority to waive controversial fees.

Sure, no one wants to be a complainer … but everyone likes to be a saver.

  • Amy

    I’ve done this on two occasions with Wells Fargo! I avoid the fees wherever can, but I’ve slipped up. I was really polite and reached out, telling them the issue, and both times they refunded the fee. Banks (and credit cards) can have really good customer service sometimes, especially if you’re a long-time customer. After all, they want to keep you around.

  • ksgirl73

    I always do this, whether it’s my fault or not. It doesn’t hurt to try. Bank fees are ridiculous. A couple months ago I was charged an overdraft fee on a check. When I went to transfer funds into the account my balance showed more than what the check was for before the transfer. I’m still trying to convince the bank that their is something wrong with their system. I don’t tend to keep a lot in my checking due to the low interest rates so I transfer over from savings when needed.