Credit cards offer many benefits, but include hidden fees that can be expensive and frustrating. Thanks to the Credit Card Act of 2009 many fees have been regulated, reduced or eliminated, resulting in savings for the customer. However, there are still expensive fees that consumers should watch for.
Annual fees Many credit cards charge annual fees. Some cards cost $50 per year or less while others can charge closer to $100. Some cards will waive those fees if you have been a long-time customer with a solid history. The best time to avoid annual fees is when you are shopping around for a new card.
Fees for printed statements Many credit card companies are charging consumers who want a paper statement. The charge is minimal, usually only $1 or so, but adds up over time. If you use the statement as a visual reminder to pay the bill, it may be more costly to switch to electronic and be charged a late payment.
Late fees The Credit Card Act also limited the charge on late payments to $25 for an initial late pay. Consumers have been better about paying their bills on time because of tighter lending standards and the requirement of higher credit scores. One late payment can really hurt a credit score and consumers are paying attention.
Over-the-limit fees Some credit card companies charge a fee every time you go over your credit limit. This could be $25 to $35 or more each time. The best way to avoid this fee is to make sure your provider declines the card if you are maxed out. It also pays to check your balance before using the card if you are close to the maximum.
Cash advance fees Many providers charge a fee each time you request a cash advance. This can be a set amount, but it is more often a percentage of the amount requested. If you do this often you could be paying hundreds of dollars in cash advance fees each year.
Be aware of your choices. Planning ahead and looking for cards that either charge lower fees or none at all can keep more money in your pocket.
About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including SEO and ways to accept credit cards online.