I missed a payment date on a credit card last month–not something I do regularly–and got slapped with a $20 late payment fee.

The balance on the card, prior to the fee, was $56.

I called the company, explained that I would pay the balance today, and politely asked to have the fee removed.

“Sure, Mr. Gowin. We can do that.”

Knowing that customers can and will switch credit cards (it’s easy enough), it’s better for the company to waive the fee than leave a customer frustrated and angry. The customer, in return, feels empowered and is likely to remain loyal.

Two lessons:

  1. The long-term relationship is worth more than $20.
  2. It doesn’t hurt to ask.