Posted by William Charles on March 5, 2015
Credit Cards

Published on March 5th, 2015 | by William Charles

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Annual Fee Refund Rules For Each Card Issuer

A lot of credit cards come with annual fees, a lot of these annual fees are waived for the first year. Each credit card issuer is different when it comes to when these fees become payable and what date you need to cancel by to avoid the annual fee for the next year.

Before calling you should do the following:

  • Pay off your balance in full (apart from the annual fee)
  • Call before the statement closes
  • Transfer any points/miles that you need to before closing the account (e.g if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred you’ll want to transfer to one of the travel partners)

Below is a list of rules for each card issuer. You should always call the retention line to see if they will offer you a bonus or waive the annual fee before cancelling (even if you don’t actually plan on cancelling the card). I’d strongly recommend reading this post which relates to retention bonuses first.

Alliant

According to our contact at Alliant they do not do prorated annual fee refunds at all.

American Express

American Express will refund the annual fee completely if you cancel the card within 30 days after the statement in which the annual fee hits. As of September 2016 if you cancel your card outside this 30 day window they will no longer do a prorated annual fee refund. Cards that are product changed will still receive a prorated annual fee refund when they are changed outside the 30 day window.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to have at least one card open that earns Membership Rewards points open, otherwise you will lose any Membership Rewards points you have when you cancel. The AmEx EveryDay card has no annual fee, so you might want to consider downgrading to this card.

Bank of America

It seems to vary based on your banking history with Bank of America. If you made all your payments on time then generally they will refund the annual fee if you cancel within one statement period.

Barclaycard

They will refund your annual fee as long as your card is cancelled within 60 days of it posting to your account.

Capital One

In most cases Capital One will offer to waive the fee on their credit cards as long as your payment history is intact. If your annual fee does post it looks like you have 30 days/one statement cycle to cancel and get the AF refunded: 1, 2,

Chase

Chase introduced a new policy of October 2016 regarding annual fee refunds. You now have a period of 30 days after your annual fee is billed to cancel and receive a refund. It didn’t seem to apply to business cards initially, but there is now a data point indicating that it does.

Citi

Citi has a similar policy to American Express, although it is slightly different. They will refund the annual fee entirely if you cancel your card within 30 days of it posting. After 30 days they will offer a prorated refund based on the month the annual fee posted (e.g if you have the Citi Prestige with a $450 annual fee and it posted in January and you cancelled in March you’d receive a 9 month refund which would be $337.5).

Update: When you downgrade a card, you usually won’t get it processed within 30 days and thus you’ll have to pay at least some of the annual fee.

This policy is different for the Citi Executive card, but I am unsure on their exact policy on this card currently. Update: according to one reader you have up to 37 days to receive a refund, although it looks like the AF is no prorated after this time. If you can confirm this, please do so in the comments below. Another confirmation.

Credit One

Credit One has a number of sub prime credit cards with high annual fees. Here is their refund policy:

The Annual Membership Fee is refundable as long as you cancel your Account and have not used your card for any Purchases or Cash Advances and you have not made a payment

Discover

Discover does not charge annual fees on any of its products at the moment.

FNBO

Unknown, share your experiences in the comments.

U.S Bank

They will refund your annual fee in full as long as you cancel within 30 days of the annual fee posting to your account.

Wells Fargo

Up until recently Wells Fargo credit cards have not had an annual fee so we are unsure what their fee waiver policies will be.

We now have one report that they’ll refund an annual fee if the card is cancelled within 90-days of when the fee posts to the account.

Final Thoughts

This article could use a lot of improvement and the easiest way it can be improved is by you sharing your data points in the comments. If you have cancelled a credit card after the annual fee has posted, let us know if you were given a refund and how long you waited between cancelling and the annual fee posting. Hopefully, we can make this a great collaborative reference article together.



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AMEX is no longer 60 days? It was a year ago.
Also apparently they prorate the refund if you convert to a fee free card, even if you convert within 30 days. At least that was my experience 2 months ago.

I had opened Citi Executive card in June 2014 and closed the account in Feb 2015. Am I supposed to received prorated refund of $450 I paid as annual fee?

I thought Citi had a different rule for the AAExecutive Card (the one with the 100,000 mile bonus last year). Something like 30 to 37 days to cancel after it posts, but after that no pro-rated refund. Can anyone with actual experience on this clarify the actual rule? I am working on a short term AA Executive card incentive and know my fee will be hitting in April or May, so I’m hoping I’ll have time to let the bonus points post before canceling.

Also want to add I love your blog – I’ve gotten scores of useful tips.

Now can you please proof your “its” and “it’s” useage (see Discover, above and I’ve seen this again and again).

What r u, an Eenglish teecher?

What about Credit One?

My dad has the consumer United card and paid the annual fee in November. He applied for the business version last month and asked about cancelling the consumer card and getting the fee refunded, but was told he’d only had 60 days to cancel and receive a refund.

Is there a typo above for Chase cards? Chase Freedom does NOT have an annual fee while your write that it has an annual fee.

I cancelled my Chase Sapphire card close to 180 day mark and still was given the entire annual fee of 95 back.

I cancelled my Carnival Visa and all I got was a 5 minute free wifi voucher, boo!

I am kidding. Just here for the backlink 😉

[…] Annual Fee Refund Rules For Each Card Issuer  –  Doctor of Credit     This is very useful information…again. […]

Spencer Thorpe
Spencer Thorpe

So in theory, would it be better to wait a little less than two months (after the renewal) date on a chase rapid rewards card before canceling?

You would receive the anniversary bonus, and also have a better chance at not get flagged for “chasing the bonuses” if you commonly rinse and repeat chase products?

I Can See for Miles
I Can See for Miles

On Citi AA Executive cards you have 37 days from the annual fee posting date to receive a refund. I don’t know if you can receive a prorated refund after that.

” it depends on the card you are wanting to cancel.”

Gerund overuse is a pet peeve of mine. Why do so many people today speak like they’re from Delhi?

That’s not a gerund. It’s a present participle.

Is the Citi Prestige fee prorated or only fully refunded after 37 days (like the Citi Executive)? If follows the 37 day rule, is that after the account was opened or after the fee has posted?

My Chase Sapphire Preferred incurred an annual fee of $125 on 12/01/2014.

Today (5/25/2015) I learned that Chase was ending our relationship (i.e – closing all my checking accounts, saving accounts and credit cards).

My question is – am I eligible for a (pro-rated) refund on the annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card?

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