Try These Smart Tips to Help You Get Service Fees and Charges Waived

By Myles Leva


Last Updated: July 28, 2022



Sometimes, your bank may be willing to waive fees.

However, most of the time they won’t state that explicitly. If you want fee waivers when your bank doesn’t offer them, you need to know how to negotiate for them.

Banks of all sizes may be willing to waive some of your fees. During the Covid-19 crisis, a lot of people found themselves strapped for cash. Overdraft fees and penalties of all sorts can be waived, if someone at your bank approves the decision.

In this article, we will discuss how to get some common service fees waived by your bank.



Negotiating Waivers

When negotiating to have any fee or penalty waived, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, speak confidently and politely.

There is no need for worry, anger, or any other emotion, as this is just regular business. So, speak in such a way as to imply you are on equal footing with whoever you are talking to and they are able to understand your intent clearly.

Second, be specific and don’t beat around the bush.

When you call the bank, be ready with the information on:

  • When the fee was charged
  • How much the fee cost
  • The fact that you want it waived

At this point, your request will either be accepted or you’ll meet with some level of resistance. This is normal, as fees are written and codified very clearly, while waivers are not. This is where negotiating can begin.

Banks, like many types of businesses, rely on repeat, long-term business. They want stable customers who feel ready to go to them whenever they need help. So, if the bank isn’t open to your request, demonstrate as best you can that you’re a good customer:

  • Say you’ve been with them for a long time
  • Mention that you made a one-off mistake
  • Go over specifics of your history with them
  • Mention that their competitors are known to be lenient in cases such as yours

Negotiating with a bank can be easier than engaging similarly with companies like utility providers. If the bank sees it as worth it to keep you with them, they are likely to waive a fee.


What if they say no?

It’s often seen as annoying or even repulsive to begin such conversations with “sob stories”. But after a cool conversation, it can be helpful to bring up the basics of your current financial challenges.

After all, if you’ve been a good customer for a while and are now asking for just one small favor, would they not be unreasonable to deny it?

This is perhaps the best opportunity to bring up favorable policies or stories from other banks. So, sharing some details of your financial challenges and bringing up better customer service elsewhere are the next options.

Of course, you can also threaten to leave the bank, but we would not recommend it unless you are sure you’re willing to follow through.


What if my standing with my bank is not great?

It’s always easier to negotiate with and get favors from a business you are in good standing with.

If this is the kind of concern you have, simply repeat all of the above steps. There’s no harm in it. However, remain especially courteous and perhaps try framing the problem differently.

Instead of maintaining that you want a specific fee waived, try asking the bank what they can do for you. Throw out that you’re looking for some help and ask “is there anything you can do to help my situation?”

Remember, regardless of how your standing with the bank is, you are at their mercy. They are not legally or even ethically obliged to ease your burdens. But they often waive fees, and there is certainly no harm in politely asking.



Apps and online messages

One effect of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a marked increase in call volumes to banks. As a result, apps and online resources, most of which already existed in most banks, are the better way to avoid long hold times.

Look into which apps are offered directly by your bank or through an intermediary that works with them.



Conclusions: Waiving fees from other businesses

We’ve discussed banking primarily, but there is very little difference between such negotiations with banks and with any other kind of business.

In any case, remember the main tips we’ve covered:

  • Don’t be shy, call your bank
  • Speak clearly, politely, and concisely
  • Ask for a waiver of the fee in question
  • Bring up your history with the bank
  • Mention some of the challenges you’re facing
  • Use online resources where you can

Photo by George Milton


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