5 Really Cool Things Your Credit Card Issuer Will Do, Just For Asking

Credit Card Application Declined - Call and Ask for a Reconsideration

Card issuer to you: “Call me maybe?”

Have you ever heard the expression “It doesn’t hurt to ask”?

This sentiment is never more true than when it comes to credit cards.

Too often, cardholders think the big banks are monolithic institutions whose decisions regarding its account holders are set in stone.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

So lets look at five things that you can get a credit card company to do just by making a simple phone call:

1. Reconsider Your Application. Remember when, as a child, you would ask one parent for something only to appeal to your other parent when your request was rejected? Although you have (hopefully) grown out of using that tactic, it actually works when applying for a credit card.

You see, nearly all credit card issuers rely on their computer systems to evaluate the credit score of new applicants before making a decision. At the same time, they allow you to contact an actual human being to discuss any rejection.

It turns out that their customer service representatives do have the power to reconsider your credit card application. Sometimes it is just a matter of a person correcting a computer’s poor decision, but other times it may involve closing another existing account or moving a line of credit.

And if you don’t get the answer you are looking for the first time, just call back again and speak with someone else. You won’t get into trouble.

2. Bump Your Bonus. Let’ say you apply for and receive a new credit card only to find out that there was a better sign up bonus available for that card. Or, what if a larger sign up bonus offer appears shortly after you apply?

It sounds too good to be true, but you can actually contact your bank and ask to receive the better offer. To use the bank’s terminology, just ask if you can “apply the other offer code to my account.” They will know what you are talking about and they often have the power to make the switch.

3. Forgive Late Fees. Late fees have been on the rise according to demos.org:

“From 1989 to 2004, the percentage of credit cardholders incurring fees due to late payments of 60 days or more increased from 4.8 percent to 8.0 percent.”

I would like you to believe that as a credit card expert, I have never made late payment. But of course I have, if only by mistake. Yet I can truthfully say that I have never actually paid a late payment fee.

The trick is to merely call the bank, admit your mistake, and ask to have the late fee waived. Considering that banks pay hundreds of dollars in marketing, advertising, and sign-up bonuses just to attract one new customer, they are delighted to retain an existing card member merely by writing off a small fee.

4. Offer You A Retention Bonus. Not only will banks forgive fees to retain new customers, they will offer you a bonus if you threaten to cancel. Just call the bank, tell them that you are thinking about closing your account, and ask to speak with a retentions specialist.

That person will search their systems to find an offer designed to keep you as their customer. This could involve bonus points, miles, or cash back. In other instances, they might even waive your annual fee.

5. Just About Anything You Want. Do you know someone that you can call that will do just about anything you ask them? Even if you do, are they available 24/7? Amazingly, this is a service that is provided by a large number of different credit cards.

For example, Visa has its Signature Concierge program that will provide you with directions, help you make travel plans, or recommend a restaurant. Similarly, MasterCard has their World Elite Concierge program, and most American Express cards offer some form of travel and shopping assistance.

So stop accepting the dictates of your credit card issuer and start demanding more. After all, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Have you had success calling your credit card issuer and asking for something extra?

Image by Trace Meek

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About Jason Steele

Jason Steele is an expert in the areas of travel and credit cards, specifically credit card rewards. He contributes to a variety of notable online publications. Jason enjoys traveling with his family and cycling. He's also has his commercial pilots license.


  1. WhatMommyDoes says:

    I never considered using a card-related concierge service before!  Good to know!  I also didn’t know you could ask them to give you a fair sign up bonus.  Thanks for the tip!

  2. Veronica @ Pelican on Money says:

    Jason, have you actually tried every one of these things?

    • Jason Steele says:

       @Veronica @ Pelican on Money I can honestly say I have tried each and every one. Amex has forgiven my late fees, Chase has reconsidered my application and bumped my bonus, Citi and others hand out retention bonuses like candy and I even tried out the Visa Signature Concierge service.

  3. Money Life and More says:

    I have done #2 when I got an offer in the mail a day after I applied for a card for an extra $100 cash sign up bonus. They gave it to me!