How To Ask For Credit Card Annual Fee Waivers

Denise Bay

Denise Bay

Last updated 25 January, 2024

Ask and you shall (may) receive. Some banks make it easy for customers to get their credit card annual fee waiver. Yes, you read that right.

Milking the most of your credit card is part art and part science. Besides reading credit card fine print and knowing the rewards mechanics like the back of your hand, asking your bank for a credit card annual fee waiver is non-negotiable if this is something that isn’t automatically offered to you. After all, savvy credit card users know it warrants some effort to get more money out of their bank.

In case you’re wondering, the majority of credit cards in Singapore offer a first-year annual fee waiver. For standard credit cards, they usually come with an annual fee of S$196.20 (w.e.f. 1 Jan 2024).

In this article, we’ll cover the following: 


How to get credit card annual fee waivers 

How to get a DBS/POSB annual fee waiver

DBS/POSB make it easy for their customers to request credit card annual fee waivers. 

The waiver is only accepted via the automated system. DBS/POSB credit cardmembers can put in their annual fee waiver request easily via DBS digibot or DBS phone banking

DBS digibot 

  1. Type ‘Fee Waiver’ into the chat box
  2. Tap on ‘Fee Waiver’ followed by ‘Authenticate Me’
  3. After authentication, select ‘Credit Cards Fee Waiver’
  4. Select the credit card account to be waived
  5. Review and tap on ‘Confirm’
  6. Wait for the bank to send you the status of your credit card annual fee waiver request within three working days — check your email/SMS 

Phone banking

  1. Dial DBS/POSB’s hotline at 1800 111 1111 or +65 6327 2265 if you’re overseas 
  2. Follow and choose your menu options accordingly 
  3. Wait for the bank to send you the status of your credit card annual fee waiver request within three working days — check your email/SMS 

DBS/POSB Credit Card Welcome Gift: Receive up to S$388 cashback or 85,000 miles when you apply for select DBS credit cards and fulfil the relevant promotion criteria. T&Cs apply.


How to get a Citibank annual fee waiver

While there’s no need for you to speak to a Citibank customer service officer, you’ll still have to go through Citibank’s hotline in order to put in your credit card annual fee waiver request. 

Fret not, it’s an easy and fairly quick process. I can’t speak for all, but from experience, Citibank approved my credit card annual fee waiver request almost instantly — I got the welcome SMS soon after hanging up the phone. 

  1. Dial Citibank’s 24-hour hotline at (+65) 6225 5225 ideally using your mobile phone number registered with Citibank 
  2. Follow and choose your menu options accordingly 
  3. Wait for the bank to send you the status of your credit card annual fee waiver request — check your SMS 

SingSaver's Exclusive Offer: Receive the following rewards when you sign up for a Citi Credit Card:

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Citi PremierMiles Card: Receive a Dyson Supersonic (worth S$699) or an Apple iPad 9th Gen (worth S$508.30) or 15,600 KrisFlyer Miles or S$350 eCapitaVoucher or S$300 Cash upon activating and spending a minimum of S$500 within 30 days of card approval. Valid until 6 June 2024. T&Cs apply.

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Other Citi Credit Cards: Receive a Dyson Supersonic (worth S$699) or Apple iPad 9th Gen 10.2 Wifi 64GB (worth S$508.30) or Sony Portable Theatre System HT-AX7 (worth S$759) or S$350 eCapitaVoucher or S$300 cash via PayNow upon activating and spending a minimum of S$500 within 30 days of card approval. Valid until 6 June 2024. T&Cs apply.

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Plus, upgrade your rewards when you top up S$999 for an Apple MacBook Air 13” (M3 chip) 256GB (worth S$1,599) or an Apple iPhone 15 Pro 128GB (worth S$1,664.25). Alternatively, top up S$1,488 for a Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Titanium Gray 12+512GB 5G (worth S$2,128). Valid till 2 June 2024. T&Cs apply.


How to get a UOB annual fee waiver

Unlike Citibank and DBS/POSB, UOB credit cardmembers looking to get annual fee waivers for their UOB credit cards have to speak to UOB’s customer service officer. Here’s UOBs phone banking menu for your easy reference. 

  1. Dial UOB’s hotline at 1800 222 2121 or, if you’re overseas, +65 6222 2121
  2. Follow and choose your menu options accordingly 
  3. Wait for the bank to send you the status of your credit card annual fee waiver request — check your email/ SMS  

UOB Credit Card Welcome Offer: Receive S$350 Cash Credit or up to 50,000 miles when you apply for select UOB credit cards and fulfil the minimum spending requirements. Valid till 30 June 2024. T&Cs apply.


How to get a Standard Chartered Bank annual fee waiver

Standard Chartered Bank will ask customers to put in their credit card annual fee waiver request via its automatic fee waiver system. 

  1. Log in via Standard Chartered Online Banking or the SC Mobile app 
  2. Click or tap on ‘Help & Services’, navigate to ‘Service request by category’
  3. Click or tap on ‘Card Management’, followed by ‘Credit Card Fee Waiver’
  4. Select up to five fee waiver-eligible card(s)
  5. Click or tap on ‘Next’, agree on the terms and conditions, then click or tap on ‘Yes’ 
  6. Select the annual fee transactions you would like waived 
  7. Check your fee waiver request details 
  8. Acknowledge and wait for bank to send you the status of your credit card annual fee waiver request(s) 

How to get an OCBC annual fee waiver

OCBC customers can submit their credit card annual fee waiver request on the OCBC mobile app or via OCBC Online Banking.

OCBC mobile app

  1. Tap on ‘Card services’ on the left menu bar
  2. Tap on ‘Request fee waiver’
  3. Select the card that you would like waived, submit your request 
  4. Wait for your fee waiver request to be approved 

OCBC online banking

  1. Log in to OCBC online banking 
  2. Click on ‘Customer service’, click on ‘Cards’ and select ‘Credit card fee waiver’ 
  3. Select the card that you would like waived, submit your request 
  4. Wait for your fee waiver request to be approved 

 


How to get an HSBC annual fee waiver

HSBC customers can request credit card annual fee waivers via HSBC’s 24-hour phone banking system.

  1. Dial HSBC’s hotline at 1800 4722 669 or +65 64722 669 if you’re overseas 
  2. Follow and choose your menu options accordingly 
  3. Wait for the bank to send you the status of your credit card annual fee waiver request 

Enjoy the following rewards when you sign up for an HSBC credit card.

HSBC CC_KV1_BLOGARTICLE_800x250

⚡Flash Deal⚡: Get a PlayStation 5 Disc Version (worth S$799) or a Dyson Airwrap (worth S$859) or S$500 e-capita Vouchers when you are one of the first 500 to apply and spend a minimum of S$500 by the end of the following calendar month from the card account opening date. Remaining applicants will enjoy SingSaver Exclusive rewards. Valid till 4 June 2024. T&Cs apply

HSBC CC_KV1_BLOGARTICLE_800x250

SingSaver's Exclusive Offer: Receive a Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer (worth S$699) or an Apple iPad 9th 10.2" WiFi 64GB (worth S$508.30) or S$350 eCapitaVoucher or 21K Max Miles upon activating and spending min. S$500 by the end of the following calendar month from the card account opening date. Valid till 4 June 2024. T&Cs apply.

For HSBC TravelOne Card: Receive the above rewards when you activate and spend a min. S$500 plus pay an annual fee of S$196.20 by the end of the following calendar month from the card account opening date. Valid till 4 June 2024. T&Cs apply.

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Plus, upgrade your rewards when you top up S$200 to get a Sony Portable Theatre System HT-AX7 (worth $$759). Alternatively, top up S$1,099 for an Apple MacBook Air 13” (M3 chip) 256GB (worth S$1,599) or an Apple iPhone 15 Pro 128GB (worth S$1,664.25). Valid till 4 June 2024. T&Cs apply.


How to get a Maybank annual fee waiver

Maybank customers can request credit card annual fee waivers via Maybank’s 24-hour phone banking system.

  1. Dial Maybank’s hotline at 1800 629 2265 or +65 6533 5229 if you’re overseas
  2. Follow and choose your menu options accordingly 
  3. Wait for the bank to send you the status of your credit card annual fee waiver request — Maybank will send you the outcome of your fee waiver request via SMS within seven business days

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Are credit card annual fee waivers guaranteed for all cardmembers?

The short answer is: no. Nobody knows exactly how banks determine whether or not to grant you a credit card annual fee waiver. 

The only exceptions are those that automatically grant you a waiver so long as you’ve hit the stipulated minimum spend, say S$10,000, S$15,000, or even S$25,000, within the year. But, of course, S$0 annual fee credit cards exist.  

From experience, my self-service fee waiver requests (i.e. those performed without speaking to any customer service representative) were typically successful.  

In general, the more often you use your credit card, the more you spend on it, and the more consistent you are in paying your credit card bills in full punctually, the higher chances you have in getting the annual fee waived. Also, if you have to speak to a customer service representative, be nice so they’re more inclined to help you instead of shutting you down with a big, flat ‘no’. 


What to do if your credit card annual fee waiver request fails 

Ask the customer service representative nicely if there’s any way they could help you appeal against the bank’s rejection. If that’s also unsuccessful and you feel you can do without that credit card of yours, consider cancelling it. Plus, there are benefits to cancelling your credit card!

But, before you do cancel, check for possible rewards points, cashback or miles. Make sure to redeem them. You do not want to forfeit those hard-earned credit card rewards.  

It also doesn’t hurt to check if your recurring bills and insurance premiums are being charged to this soon-to-be cancelled credit card. If so, set up new recurring payment arrangements to avoid late payment charges and policy lapses. 

 

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Why some people pay their credit card annual fee  

#1 You get something in return

Some people choose to pay their credit card annual fees because they get something in return, in the form of rewards points or bonus miles, depending on the credit card they hold. 

For miles chasers like myself, it’s a no-brainer to pay the annual fee because it would have required way more spending at the rate of earning 1.2mpd or 2mpd to bag that 10,000 miles. 

#2 You don’t really have a choice

While I must say that American Express offers one of the best customer service experiences in the vast world of credit cards, it is tough to get them to waive the annual fee for you. 

With American Express credit cards, it’s likely that you have to pay the annual fee if you want to continue using your card. That’s just the way it is.

#3 For the sake of your credit score

Another common reason why some people pay their credit card annual fee? It’s their only credit card or their oldest credit card. A long credit history is always great news for your credit score, especially if things like late payments and partial payments have nothing to do with you!

In case you didn’t already know, a good credit score goes a long way in helping you get approved if and when you decide to take out a major loan, such as a home loan, car loan or education loan

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Credit cards with perpetual annual fee waivers 

There are credit cards that offer perpetual annual fee waivers if you know where to look. For one, CIMB credit cards all come without annual fees!

Welcome Offer: Receive S$88 Cashback when you make a minimum of S$108 eligible spends within 30 days of card approval date. Plus, receive S$100 Cashback (S$188 in total) when you increase your minimum eligible spends to S$988 within 60 days of card approval date. Valid till 31 July 2024. T&Cs apply.

 

The Standard Chartered Smart Credit Card, HSBC Revolution Credit Card, and UOB EVOL Credit Card also let cardmembers enjoy S$0 annual fee for life, so long as their credit card accounts are in good standing or you meet a minimum number of qualifying transactions per month.

Credit card
Key benefits & requirements
SCB_SMART_CARD-w1920
Up to 6% cashback on eligible categories
 
Up to 7.7 mpd on eligible categories through SCB X card or SCB Visa Infinite Card
 
No min. spend
 
S$818 spend cap per month
HSBC-Revolution-New

Up to 4 mpd on online and mobile contactless spend:
- Travel
- Shopping
- Groceries
- Dining

0.4 mpd on all other spend

No min. spend

S$1,000 spend cap permonth

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8% cashback on online and mobile contactless spend
 
0.3% cashback on all other spend
 
Min. S$600 spend per month
 
Capped at S$60 cashback per month:
- S$20 per online spend
- S$20 per mobile contactless spend
- S$20 per all other spend

Read these next:
4 Types Of Credit Cards With Lifetime Annual Fee Waivers
Best Cashback Credit Cards In Singapore
Top Credit Card Promotions And Deals On SingSaver
Cashback vs Miles vs Rewards: Which Is The Best Type Of Credit Card For You?
3 Reasons To Cancel Your Credit Card (And How To Do Just That)
Best Citibank Credit Cards in Singapore

While Denise has a thing for travel, K-dramas, 0% sugar bbt (with boba!), Japanese cuisine and flat white, her curious nature means all sorts of random tabs are open on her phone 24/7. She doesn’t like to pay full price for anything, too.

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