Last week, news broke about several big credit card companies who have been ordered to pay restitution to many customers for charging outlandish fees. Visa and MasterCard are currently involved in a $7.3 billion settlement, while Chase and a few others are involved in a $100 million settlement. While some consumers are aware of the fees associated with their cards, many are not and have ended up in serious credit debt from failure to recognize the consequences.
Hidden credit card fees are everywhere. Chances are your card has several fees that you may not even be aware of if you haven’t crossed the line into their territory. From over-the-limit fees to fees for paying off balances too quickly or in a lump sum, credit card companies have been sneaky about how they can make extra money. As a consumer it is important that you are fully aware of the fees associated with your cards and be diligent about staying away from their effects.
First, contact your credit card company. They are required by law to provide you with a disclosure statement that will outline the terms and conditions of your card. If you find that some of these conditions are unfavorable try to negotiate. In many cases, credit negotiations focus on such fees and hidden conditions as the main aspect of the negotiation. You may be surprised to learn that you can negotiate down or even eliminate some fees.
Also, stay vigilant about your card and its conditions. Occasionally, you may receive a brochure of credit card terms and conditions in the mail. Do not throw it away, rather read it thoroughly to look for any changes to your accounts. Many people get trapped by subtle changes because they did not bother to read the information provided to them.