A high-interest rate isn’t the only cost of having a credit card. In many cases, credit cards also carry various fees and charges, some of which aren’t so clearly disclosed.
Do you want to avoid sudden charges or expensive penalties? Here are just a few of the hidden fees you might want to ask your credit card company about.
Balance transfer fee
Transferring your balance from one credit card to another can sometimes be smart. It might help you avoid an increase in APR, especially if your low-rate introductory period is ending, or it could be a good way to consolidate your debts and pay them off more easily.
But balance transfers don’t come for free. Most cards charge a fee for these — usually a percentage of the total amount you transfer. You’ll want to be sure the transfer will save you more than the fee will cost you before pulling the trigger.
Online marketplace Credible can help you compare a variety of credit cards — including balance transfer cards — and help you determine if the card is right for you.
Lots of cards charge annual maintenance fees — especially reward-earning and cash-back cards. These fees vary and can be as little as $50 or go well into the hundreds. Usually, the bigger the reward, the higher the annual fee is.
Credit card annual fees can unlock better benefits. Credible can help you compare annual free credit cards (and beyond). Just insert what you’re looking for into their free online tools.
If you’re late making your payment, you’ll likely get hit with a penalty. These are usually flat-fee charges ranging anywhere from $25 to $40, depending on your credit card company.
According to financial expert Andrea Woroch, the best way to avoid these fees is to set up auto payments for at least the minimum amount. If you are charged a late payment penalty, then settle up your bill immediately.
“This will give you some power to negotiate and ask a representative to waive the fee once the payment posts to the account,” she said. “You can even ask them to reverse any interest charged at that time, which I’ve had success doing. Sometimes just explaining why you paid late — maybe you just had a baby or are dealing with financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus. Just be kind and courteous when you ask.”
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