The average credit card charges six fees — and some have more than 10 fees
Credit cards are charging ahead with fees.
The average credit card charges six fees — with some particularly fee-laden cards charging 10 or more different fees to consumers, according to data on 100 popular credit cards released Thursday by CreditCards.com.
The two most common fees are for late payments and cash advances: The typical late payment fee, which you get for paying your bill late, is $37. The typical cash advance fee is $10 or 5% of the advance, or whichever is greater.
Other common fees include those for balance transfers (85% of cards charge it, most often it is $5 or 3% of the transfer, whichever is greater); returned payment fees, which are charged when they can’t process your payment possibly because you don’t have enough money in your account (80% of cards charge it, usually at a cost of $37); and foreign transaction fees (just over half of cards charge it, it usually costs 3% of the transaction).
Some fees are far less common — and far more absurd. No. 1 on that list is a fee to raise your credit limit. Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com’s senior industry analyst, found one card — the First Premier Bank credit card — that charges it. The card, which targets people with a lower credit score, charges its users a $25 fee to raise their credit limit. So, if they bump your limit by $100, you’d get charged $25 for that, he explains. You can reject the credit limit increase, but Schulz points out that many of these cardholders are using this card so they can raise their credit score; because upping your credit limit can help your credit score, these users often won’t reject an increase. “This is one fee that always jumps out at me,” Schulz says.
Another irritating fee: A charge to get paper versions of older statements that your credit card company no longer has up on their site. You’ll usually have to pay roughly $5 – $10 for these, and sometimes you have to pay for statements that are just over a year old.
Want to avoid getting hit with annoying fees? The first thing you can do is know what the fees are on your credit card by finding the cardholder agreement online or calling your credit card company to ask. And then you can avoid the most common fees by doing the following, says Schulz: Set up automatic payments to pay your credit card bill so you never pay late, don’t use your credit card at an ATM so you don’t get hit with cash advance fees and shred the convenience checks that come with your credit card for that same reason. Schulz adds that you can also sometimes get fees — in particular late payment fees — waived if this is your first time paying late and you call to ask for it waived.
The other big thing you can do is switch to a credit card like one of these that doesn’t charge a ton of fees. Here are nine options that charge two or fewer fees.
— Pentagon Federal Credit Union Promise Visa (1)
— Capital One Platinum (2)
— Capital One Secured MasterCard (2)
— Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business (2)
— Journey Student Rewards from Capital One (2)
— Sam’s Club MasterCard (2)
— SonyCard Visa from Capital One (2)
— Spark Classic from Capital One (2)
— Spark Miles Select by Capital One (2)
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