Unnecessary Credit Card Charges: Learn To Avoid Them

Even the most well-educated consumer can get tripped up by unexpected – and unnecessary – credit card charges and fees. Though credit card companies often fly under the radar with these money-makers, it’s possible for the savvy consumer to avoid them altogether. Read on for several of the most common surreptitious credit card charges.

Grey Charges. Research shows at least 40 percent of consumers are paying for these charges, which commonly occur when you sign up for a product or service that is advertised as free, only to realize later that you’re being charged renewal fees after a free-of-charge grace period. Known as a grey charge, this type of unexpected card charge can seriously impact your finances over time. Be vigilant about scanning your statement regularly in order to guard against these unwanted expenses.

Foreign-Transaction Fees. It’s a common misconception that you won’t be charged foreign-transaction fees as long as you’re using your card in the U.S., but many card companies also charge fees for purchases made from foreign-based online retailers. Look for cards with travel rewards, as they often waive fees on these international transactions.

Paper Statement Fees. Electronic statements are usually marketed as convenient for consumers, but the truth is that they’re also a boon for credit card companies who get to dodge the usual postage and mailing costs for paper statements. So, if you haven’t switched over to your card’s e-statement option, you should scan your monthly bill to make sure you aren’t getting monthly paper statement fees. Though they are normally just a few dollars per month, these incremental fees add up.

Consumers could save hundreds of dollars or more per year by simply paying closer attention to each charge on their credit card statements. Set a reminder in your calendar to check yours monthly and avoid the above pitfalls.

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