If you’ve recently been charged a bank fee that you don’t agree with, be it an overdraft fee or a monthly service fee, there are several ways for you to challenge the bank’s decision. You can go to a branch of the bank to speak in-person with a representative, or if you’re strapped for time, you can use the Secure Messaging feature of your bank’s website to talk online. Either way, we’ve provided some tactical advice on how to approach the matter:
Let Them Know You’re Loyal
Start the conversation by letting the bank know where your allegiances lie. Introducing yourself as “a loyal customer of your bank” will serve as a polite reminder that you have patronized their business for some time, and that the bank stands to lose your patronage if they don’t handle the situation properly. Make sure to remind them later on in the conversation that “As previously mentioned, I do want to keep my existing relationship with your bank” to really drive the point home.
Address the Fee
Once you’ve introduced yourself as a loyal customer, specify the amount and date of the fee: “I recently had the opportunity to review my account. It appears that I was charged a [service or overdraft] fee on [this date].” This will help the bank representative take a closer look at your account information.
Compare Other Banks’ Policies
Once you’ve clearly established your desire to stay with your current bank, be sure to bring up other banks’ policies. If you’re being charged a monthly service fee on a checking account, for instance, let them know that you’re “aware that a number of other banks offer free checking accounts that do not charge any monthly fee.” This will make it clear that you’re aware that you have options.
Finish the conversation by requesting that the fee be waived, and be sure to stay polite: “I write to ask you to waive the fee for this month and, if possible, for previous fee charges as well. I appreciate your assistance in this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.”
If, despite your best efforts, the bank refuses to waive your fee and you think you might want to switch to a new checking account, take a look at our article on how to close a bank account and switching banks. There, you’ll get a better idea of what to look for when searching for the right bank.