I got a hit with a $39.00 late fee, for paying my Citi Dividend card late. In today’s multiple-payment option age, paying your bill late is really silly—especially when you have the money. Although it was my fault for paying late, I still don’t like fees. So… what’s the best way to get rid of them?

Just ask!

My prefer method of contacting banks for non-emergency needs is via the Internet. For me, I get better results when I write, since I’ll come off as less of an idiot, and my words can be more neutral.

Contacting Citi Bank’s “Online Customer Care Specialist” is easy enough. Login to your account, look for Help/Contact Us on the far right, select Contact Us, and then click on Send A New Message. Select the message topic and type away.

Mmm.. complaining

I typed up a short message, which basically told them the real reason why I paid late (I forgot), how it was my first time ever paying late, and I ended the message with a request for the fee to be waived. The result?

Kudos to Citi’s online customer service for their fast response:

Thanks for the goodwill gesture!

The late fee refund was posted immediately. Woot!

Mmm... much better

Your results will of course vary. If you frequently pay your credit card late, you can only get these fees waive so many times. The best bet is to ask nicely, give them at least a good reason, and remind them that you’re a loyal customer (or will be one). If you get denied, don’t fret—just chill out and try again by phone. Remember that different customer service representative will yield different results, so you can always try calling a few more times.

Easiest way to avoid all the hassles? Don’t be like me, pay your bills on time!

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