Avoiding Credit Card Fees


A credit card is something everyone has but not everyone understands how to use. How can you manage your credit card debt and avoid colossal fees?

Fees are everywhere - from processing fees to banking fees to financing fees to late fees. If you really wanted to get buried in fees it wouldn't be too difficult. Is it even possible to have a credit card without incurring loads of fees? The answer is yes. 

If you want to avoid fees you have to be smart when you are shopping for the credit card itself. Rates and fees vary immensely from bank to bank and even from card to card. 

Look at your history

Do you have trouble making monthly payments? Do you make a lot of overseas purchases? Do you tend to carry a large balance? Do you lose your card a lot? Do you need cash advances? All of these things matter when you are trying to avoid fees. The key is to find a card that fits your habits.

If you travel overseas a lot you want to choose a card with little to no foreign transaction fees. If you lose your card a lot try and find one that won't charge you every time you need a new one. If you carry a large balance find one with lower finance charges. Identify which charges you tend to get hit with and shop around for a card that doesn't charge so much in those areas.  

Sometimes you need to compromise and take on a higher fee for something you are less likely to use than one you have a history of using. For example: If you don't travel much but need cash advances frequently look for a card with lower cash advance fees and higher foreign transaction fees (since that is a fee you will rarely encounter).

Consolidate your cards

If you have several cards keeping track of different fee schedules can be difficult and can allow things to slip through the cracks. Go through your cards and identify the one that meets your needs best and has little to no balance transfer fee and consolidate (without closing those empty accounts unless they carry and annual fee). Fewer active accounts will be easier to manage and make payments on.

You don't have to consolidate all of your cards nor do you have to transfer everything to a card you already have. Shop around for the best card for your lifestyle and make choices that will make managing your balances easier month-to-month. If you have less to think about you can see those fees coming a lot easier.