Recently I went through some old folders and noticed I still had my original TD credit card I never use and forgot I had. It’s a standard card with no fees or rewards, and since I have no incentive to use it now that I’ve started using lucrative rewards cards, it just sits there and collects dust.
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So why not cancel it?
I thought about it, but I know the length of credit history is significant when calculating a credit score. I’ve had the card for a long time and haven’t had any other card for nearly as long, so my average credit history length might take a big hit if I cancelled it.
Related: How to Boost Your Credit Score
I talked to my bank to see what they could do. They advised me not to cancel it (big surprise) since it would affect my credit score.
Then I explained my issue – I don’t want to cancel the card since I’ve had it for so long but it just isn’t working for me.
Since it has a low credit limit and no rewards, so there’s not much incentive for me to use it.
Negotiating With a Bank
As I was talking to my bank I realized I was in a (somewhat) position of power. It wasn’t just the credit card I was dealing with – I also do my everyday banking there and have a mortgage coming up for renewal soon that I could potentially switch to the bank.
I’ve learnt that when it comes to the big banks, the more business you do with them, the more leverage you have when negotiating.
I wanted a rewards card to replace my old card I never use anymore, and I didn’t want to go through the credit check process.
But I also realized I could be considered a ‘priority’ customer since I do my everyday banking there, have a credit card and I’d bring in even more business if I switched my mortgage to them.
I could be eligible for a credit card ‘upgrade’ a new, better card to replace my old card. Since it’s with the same bank no credit check would be needed.
Reaching a Deal
With my position of (somewhat) power in mind, I asked for a credit card upgrade. I wanted a card that had a decent rewards system and maybe even a signup bonus, and I didn’t want to pay for it. This would work well for me because it would help me get rid of my old card and step into something more lucrative.
They didn’t have any signup bonuses available for any cards, so I settled on a U.S. dollar card. The card bills U.S. transactions in U.S. dollars and doesn’t charge the extra 2.5% currency conversion fee that most cards charge. While I won’t get the rewards I was after, it will be useful to not pay the extra 2.5% on transactions in the U.S. It has an annual fee of $39 but they agreed to waive it because I’ve been a long-standing customer.
I was happy because I got what I wanted – I was able to avoid getting an entirely new card by upgrading my current card and in the process will save money by not having to pay foreign currency conversion costs.
If anyone else is in a similar situation – wanting to replace an old credit card they never use but don’t want to cancel it – I would recommend talking to their bank about what they can do. They may be able to easily switch the card over to something more useful and lucrative. In my case the U.S. dollar card will save me money when travelling.
Rewards programs change all the time, so it’s important to have a quick look to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.
My bank mentioned since I was a long-time account holder they’d be willing to waive the annual fee on some of their premium cards – some had an annual fee of $120.
The more you deal with a bank (everyday banking, investing, mortgage, credit cards, etc) the more they’ll want to keep you as a customer. I’d recommend anyone have a chat with their bank to see what they can do.
Conclusion: I negotiated with my bank to get rid of an old card I wasn’t using in exchange for a more useful U.S. dollar card that will save me money when I travel. I’ll save the 2.5% currency conversion fee and the bank has agreed to waive the $39 annual fee. Anyone can negotiate with their bank to get what they want and the more you deal with a bank, the more leverage you have.
Have you ever negotiated with a bank to get what you want?