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.


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.


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. Another report on a business card indicates you have 40 days: 1, 2

A data point suggests (1, 2) that product changing within 30 days to a no-fee card will not get you any refund at all on your annual fee. YMMV: 1,


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, and we’ve heard Chase reps saying similar when people call in to cancel (as of 8/29/22).


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


Unknown, share your experiences in the comments.


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.

Popular Bank

Popular bank has a policy that if you have a charge on your account when you cancel it you’re responsible for paying it. This means if your annual fee posts to your account before you close it you have to pay the annual fee.

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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Celia 🔗
Celia 🔗 (@guest_1846654)
May 18, 2024 12:45

If I downgrade my CSR to a CSP in the first 30 days of getting my annual fee charged (charged 5/1, downgrade 5/30), will I get the full 550 back? And then charged the 95 of course. Does it keep the same card number?

Statement that contains the $550 charge closes 5/21.
PYB for the full $550
Already used $300 credit for this upcoming year.

May 19, 2024 00:18

Yep, you should get it all back (even past 30 days; up to 41 days after statement close which can be more like 50+ days, depending on statement cycle). I was called in the other day and the knowledgable rep confirmed that PC and closing out card both work with the same rules. I was discussing PCing to a no fee card, but it should work the same to a fee card.

Celia 🔗
Celia 🔗 (@guest_1846866)
May 19, 2024 09:13

Thanks @Chuck, that helps.

Eric 🔗
Eric 🔗 (@guest_1846832)
May 19, 2024 06:58


I saw that  Chuck answered part of your question (and I agree with what he wrote).

For your other question, when I downgraded a CSR and CSP to a CF or CFF the card # did change.

However, changing it from a CSR to a CSP (which I have never done) may keep the same # since they are both Sapphires. Hopefully someone else will chime in to answer your question definitively.

Is there a reason why you are concerned about the card # possibly changing?

Celia 🔗
Celia 🔗 (@guest_1846867)
May 19, 2024 09:15

Eric 🔗 Not concerned, just want to know if I have to change the number in a few places.

007 (@guest_1826377)
April 5, 2024 08:33

Nothing recent re Wells Fargo annual fee refund rules or datapoints?

007 (@guest_1826376)
April 5, 2024 08:33


mark (@guest_1799194)
February 17, 2024 16:19

I’m considering downgrading Citi AA Plat Select to avoid the annual fee, but I’ve got an AA trip coming up (a week after the renewal date) and want to use the free bag perk. Anyone know if I can take the trip, use the bag perk, then downgrade before the 30 day deadline to get full fee refund? Thanks.

Burton (@guest_1791429)
February 2, 2024 15:13

Chase DP – closed Sw personal card 32 days after AF was billed (and a week after it was paid) with no issues. Credit will be issued to my account and I can either wait for a check or call in once it posts and have it transferred to my checking account. Took less than 10 minutes total including phone tree & hold time.

Agent also proactively brought up reallocating credit limit to another card.

OleksandrS (@guest_1757138)
December 12, 2023 19:58

penfed will not refund annual fee after it was posted. Close account before anniversary statement

Lightspeed (@guest_1753326)
December 7, 2023 10:16

US Bank datapoint-per rep I spoke with today, they will only refund the annual fee if the account is cancelled, NOT for product changes to a non-AF card.

It’s consistent with what is currently written above, but figured I would state it outright in case there was ambiguity for anyone else. 🙂

joe (@guest_1791287)
February 2, 2024 12:24

I spoke to someone and she offered to downgrade to waive the fee however I still chose to close the card. How long did it take for you to get refunded? Mine is cancelled for 3 days now but I’m still seeing the annual fee on my account

Lightspeed (@guest_1822902)
March 30, 2024 03:12

In contrast to my first DP, second rep I spoke with offered to waive the fee for a downgrade, and I took it. AF credit was posted within 24 hours. They then screwed up and double-credited me.

They seem to make a lot of decisions manually/on a whim.

BewareCapitalOne (@guest_1749269)
December 1, 2023 16:39

Capital One reps are quite literally the worst I’ve ever spoken to. They straight up lie. I don’t know if they are incentivized to screw over customers or what, but a few told me they gave no refunds on account closure which is not at all true(I even quoted multiple sources saying I could within 30 days of closure). I found this in the terms when I decided to try closing account online which was shockingly possible(thanks technology!):

If the account was billed a membership fee within the last 40 days:
We will credit your account for any membership fee that was billed within the past 40 days.

So yeah, just beware these guys are quite intentionally misinforming consumers. This is the second time in several years I’ve had a sleezy experience with these guys. So shame on me I guess. Never again though. Not even worth the aggravation.

NSFE (@guest_1754614)
December 9, 2023 01:14

Did you finally get a rep to refund with the terms you found?

Dugroz Reports
Dugroz Reports (@guest_1757951)
December 13, 2023 23:52

This appears to be true. I called Cap 1 last year for a retention offer (didn’t get one) and asked on what day my grace period expires if I decide to cancel? The rep told me they would “review to see IF the annual fee could be refunded (and I was calling only about 10-20 days after the fee posted). Would not commit to a firm date.

Ben (@guest_1727358)
October 31, 2023 18:36

I know this is a known issue with capital one, but once the AF is billed the only way to get it refunded is cancel the account. Even if you product change to a no annual fee card within 30 days, they won’t refund the AF. I asked for a exception to this policy, the supervisor said no.

BewareCapitalOne (@guest_1749270)
December 1, 2023 16:40

This is confirmed true as of Dec 2023. Also the CSR’s will deny they have a policy that will refund your AF even if they charged it to you a day ago. If you close it on the web, you’ll find the terms confirming you’ll get the AF back. What a slimey national bank.

Josh (@guest_1626212)
May 30, 2023 16:52

Barclay business card is 60 days. I tried canceling on day 60 with them refusing to refund the annual fee (system wouldn’t let them).

Ray (@guest_1629236)
June 5, 2023 15:31

Same here, what a scummy company! No pro-rating at all for Barclays business. Be sure to set a calendar reminder.

Josh (@guest_1629237)
June 5, 2023 15:32

so i was able to escalate to a supervisor and a supervisor escalated to a manager (received a case number and a call back the next day) who was able to override and provide me a manual refund.