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