Credit cards can have many advantages if you choose the right ones and use them responsibly. With so many cards to choose from, you can select the ones that give you rewards, cash back or other benefits without annual fees. If you pay your card off in full each month, you can avoid interest charges.
However, if, like many people, you don’t pay the full balance due, you start accruing interest charges that can get you into far more debt than your purchases alone cost. Further, there are fees associated with most cards that can come as an unpleasant surprise to people who didn’t fully read the disclosure information before they applied for or used the card. Let’s look at a few of them.
Balance transfer fee
It can be tempting to transfer the balances on one or more cards over to a card offering a 0 percent interest rate. However, first know what the balance transfer fee is. If you transfer a balance of $20,000 and the balance transfer fee is 3 percent, you’ll be paying $600. That still may be less than you’re paying in interest, but do the calculations before you jump on that “great” offer.
Cash advance fee
If you use your credit card to get cash out of the ATM when your checking account is running low, you already know that this costs money, both in cash advance fees and interest that starts accruing when you get the advance. If you’re getting a new card and you plan to use it for cash advances, pay attention to any fees as well as the interest rates, which can be close to 20 percent.
If you’re one of those people who waits until the last minute to pay your bills, find out what the card you’re contemplating charges if you make a late payment.
Late fees are something you can avoid with a little planning, though. Make sure you know what date your payment is due and make sure to pay it by then. If you make the payment through the card issuer’s website, there’s no confusion about when you pay it.
If interest charges and fees have contributed to making your credit card debt situation even worse and you don’t see a way out of it, discover your options to get back on track.
Source: Forbes, “3 Credit Card Fees Costing You Several Hundred Dollars Per Year,” Ginger Dean, Sep. 29, 2017