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 even 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,

One data point suggests that product changing within 30 days to a no-fee card will not get you any refund at all on your annual fee.

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.

According to a recent comment (6/10) you can get a refund up to 41 days from the statement close that contained the annual fee.

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.

HSBC

HSBC does not refund annual fees or provide any sort of annual fee refunds. If the annual posts to your account, you’re stuck paying it.

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.

204
Leave a Reply

avatar
 

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Josh
Josh

On the phone with BBVA for the past hour and they’re taking a very hard line against waiving the annual fee for the BBVA Select care while canceling. They won’t even *let* me cancel unless I pay them the $99 AF. Have gone through several layers of customer service escalation, asked to see the written policy they’re referring to (they can’t find it), and asked why I should pay an annual fee on a card I won’t have anymore.

Short answer – cancel any BBVA cards *before* one year passes. Or just don’t do business with them at all; this is pretty scummy.

Ergg
Ergg

Did you get this resolved? Currently going through the same thing. What a nightmare of a bank…

Jonathan
Jonathan

+1 on BBVA being a crappy bank. I had the same thing happen to me. I tried closing the BBVA select within a week of it posting and they will not refund the annual fee and I wasted an hour on the phone today.

Take my free referral
Take my free referral

Capital one
additional DPs to confirm above:
– One for Savor – they do not refund annual fee with product change.
– one for venture (on a different unrelated account) – they do not refund annual fee with product change (tho first rep mistakenly said this and so second rep / escalation, applied courtesy refund)

DWhite
DWhite

I second this. Escalation does not seem to help and the reps seem to see it as a hard rule. Don’t let the AF post unless you want to keep a CapOne product for the upcoming year.

The rep I spoke with reported that “upgrades” (since they call downgrades upgrades) to Savor products are basically not happening; if you’re looking to hold the SavorOne, you’ll need to apply for it directly.

Downgrading a Savor to avoid the annual fee means either closing within 40 days or accepting an offer for a card with no annual fee before the Savor’s AF posts.

Maurice
Maurice

American Express is extremely clear on their annual fee refund policy while other credit card companies are not as clear as AMEX.

icemule1
icemule1

Anyone have any info on Navy Federal Credit Union cards?

Adam
Adam

Chase rep also told me 41 or 42 days today when I called for Sapphire

s
s

A Chase rep told me that the policy differs for business and personal cards. Said for personal you have until 42 days (not sure if that’s from posted date or statement date) to receive full refund. But for the business cards you only have until next statement closes and they prorate the charge. So I downgraded less than 30 days after the statement date, and I was charged for one month. I don’t know how this works if it is cancelled/downgraded quicker.

Beware, the reps don’t all know this! I was told by a couple of them that I’ll receive a full refund and one of them said I have until 42 days to cancel.

Joseph N.
Joseph N.

I cancelled my Chase Southwest card more than 30 days after the af posting date, but less than 30 days after the statement date, and the af was reversed.

However, I agree with your warning about Chase reps. Chase’s customer service reps have gone way down hill the last couple of years.

Aaron
Aaron

Capital one is stupid, cannot refund annual fee once it posts (it wasn’t even on my statement yet). I have a Venture card, and called 2 days after my annual fee hit, called to product change to the Venture One and said they’re unable to do anything about it once it posts. You can still product change it to a Venture One, but you cannot get your annual fee payment back. You also cannot change your card within 12 months of account opening..so you literally have a 1-2 day period from when your annual fee becomes “pending” to actual post. Such a scam. Citi, Chase, and Amex does not have this policy and is more lenient with annual fee refunds,

Celia
Celia

Your post had me worried that I needed to close my Spark account before the annual fee hit. Simplest closure ever, all automated. The recording did say that if an annual fee had been posted within 30 days it would automatically be refunded. Must be only the biz side.

Scott
Scott

Capital one is not waiving fee on venture card. Posted 29 days ago and prior statement closed. Going to either downgrade or close proactively next year.

SP
SP

Has anyone tried to get their Cap1 Savor AF waived for Year 3?

Baked
Baked

SP yes, tried with P3. Cap1 refused to waive.

Take my free referral
Take my free referral

yes tried and failed. so i closed it.

z-nut
z-nut

Nope on my first try. Could “upgrade” to a VentureOne but I would still owe the annual fee as others have noted. I have an old phone and Savor is my last card with cell phone insurance so that might tilt the scales towards keeping. Gonna do some math and try to get it waived again later or cancel if it’s not worth keeping.

Harry
Harry

Capital one will not waive annual fee on a downgrade, only if a card is closed within 40 days of posting.