The credit card industry is to say the least a humongous industry. In 2012, according to statista.com, Visa alone accounted for 3.2 trillion U.S. Dollars in volume, that is trillion with a “T.” And it is fair to say that much of that is due to credit card fees. Here are some ways to avoid them and end lining their pockets with your hard earned money. It is next to impossible to find a card without any fees at all, but they do exist and are out there but why rack your brain to trying and find one; you should just figure out how to avoid them, or reduce them tremendously instead, on the cards that you already have.
- Overdraft Fees
- Statement Fees
- Pay Over the Phone Fees
- Replacement Card Fees
Are only a few of the several fees that are in most credit card contracts. And in reality, they are non negotiable. But they are avoidable or can be reduced dramatically.
Having a good credit score is a good way to avoid fees in general, but not altogether. And making your payments on time and above the minimum, may get you some future fees waived if you have a hiccup down the road. But there are other ways to avoid credit card fees that you can do.
Credit unions are a fantastic place to start, especially if you have good credit. According to bankrate.com, interest rates are close to 20 percent lower than bank cards. If you think you have to be special to join a credit union you would be wrong, most if not all of us can find a credit union to join, but of course some are limited to a specific trade or industry, but others are out there where anyone can join.
Overdraft fees are by far the most common fees that a person will run into. When you max out your card, your fees will mount in an incredible fashion, and they range between $27 and $38 per month based on the current law and your account history. The current law that applies is the C.A.R.D. Act from 2009. You should take a look at the Act, which is beyond our discussion here.
Credit Card Statement Fees
Not exactly what you think, but when you need an old statement for some reason, you will get charged a fee for that service depending on how old the statement is and what the purpose is for, you can avoid this by signing up for an online account with your company, and each month downloading your statement and saving it to your hard drive and archives (if you do not have a hard drive and archive system, shame on you) but saving all your statements electronically can save you money down the line. Some card companies will waive fees if you receive online statements and eliminate paper statements altogether, and ask if they will waive transaction fees too, if you do everything electronically.
Over the Phone Fees
You betcha, you think you are doing the company a favor by calling in a payment think again, most have a fee for that, and not a small one either, they are ten to fifteen dollars. Avoid that by setting up an automatic payment coming out of your account, you will never be late, and you can kill two birds with one stone, the pay by phone and late fee charges. Win win. And if you do everything electronically your will be ahead of the game too, and can transact business from anywhere, such as your smart phone.
Replacement Card Fees
Yes you probably have these too, now you may not be able to avoid it, if your card is stolen, lost or otherwise destroyed. But if you are constantly leaving your card or are a forgetful person, these fees can add up over time. According to mybanktracker.com the range is between $1.75. to $16.33.
[Read: Getting a Credit Card with No Annual Fees]
These are a few ways you can avoid credit card fees and reduce the amount that you pay over the life of your card. There are other fees out there too, such as stop payment fees, expedited card shipment fees, foreign transaction fees and yearly account maintenance fees. Most of us do not even blink when our credit card company adds these fees to our account, if we see them there at all, because most of us really do not read the statement closely, we look at the balance, and the minimum amount to pay, and that is it. But look closely, and if in doubt call and ask what the fee is for, and ask that it be waived, sometimes if you ask you will get the fee waived, but you have to ask, they will not offer it. Be proative and you too can avoid credit card fees.