| July 19, 2013

Credit card fees that are easily avoided

Whether a consumer has a pile of credit card debt, or no balances whatsoever on their accounts, pesky fees can be costly and annoying. The good news is that many of them are easily avoidable, including:

1. Annual fees: This type of fee comes with many different types of credit cards, which is why a lot of consumers end up paying money each year just to have their plastic. However, this doesn't have to be the case, as there are many offerings that come without a yearly charge. Instead of opting for the first card they see, consumers should do extensive research to find a credit card that has all of the perks they desire (i.e. cash back, airline miles) without paying $50 to $100 a year. 

2. Foreign transaction fees: People who travel overseas frequently could see fees pile up if their credit card charges them for each transaction in a foreign currency. Much like annual charges, this expense doesn't need to be incurred, as there are plenty of cards that don't come with this fee. For example, those who know they will end up out of the country often should be on the lookout for a travel rewards credit card that won't charge them 2 to 3 percent of the purchase price every time they swipe their card in another country. 

3. Cash advance fees: This is probably the one that consumers will want to avoid most because if they are using their credit card at the ATM, chances are they're in some sort of financial trouble. Whenever a cash advance is obtained, fees might be the least of a consumer's worries, as they often come with interest rates greater than 20 percent. With that said, the best way to avoid cash advance charges is to never get a cash advance, which is recommended by most financial experts. 

4. Late payment fees: One of the easiest credit card fees to avoid are those that are assessed for late payments. All consumers have to do to prevent them is pay their bill on time. While this might prove difficult for some, there are numerous ways to set up reminders. Most credit card providers offer some sort of system, whether it is though text or email, that tells cardholders when a payment is due. 

April Lewis-Parks has more than 15 years of experience in the financial sector, she is a certified financial counselor, and a consumer affairs advocate. As the director of education and public relations for Consolidated Credit she is dedicated to generating awareness about personal finance issues and acts as their consumer affairs advocate. As host the of MissMoneyBee.com, she promotes financial education and offers timely and informative personal finance articles to educate the public.

April’s promotional efforts can be seen in past issues of the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsday, Consumer Reports, the Business Journals, Money Magazine, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Family Circle, among others.

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