5 Ways to Make Credit Card Fees Disappear

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Can you perform magic? When your credit card statement reveals that you’ve been charged a fee, you might wish you could. Good news: you can learn to do this small trick of making credit card fees disappear. Here’s how to make a different types of common fees disappear:

• Late fees. This one is pretty easy. Just pay your minimum amount due on time. However, sometimes life gets busy and even the most organized and responsible people miss a due date. One way to make this fee disappear is to simply call and ask. Customer service people will often credit back a fee, if it’s the first time and you have a reason for missing it. (The reason can even be that you just forgot. That’s legitimate.) But here are a couple ways to not be a repeat offender in this category. The first way is to set up automatic payments. This way, the minimum amount due (or the whole amount due–you choose) is automatically deducted on the due date. Another option is to set up email and/or text reminders. You can do this through your online account center, most likely—depending on which card you have. Yet another thing to consider is applying for a card that doesn’t charge late payment fees or over-the-limit fees. More and more cards are going to this model; check out Citi Simplicity or similar cards that advertise no hassle and no fees.

• Over-the-limit fees. As with late fees, these might be excused if you call and ask. And if you get a no-fee card, you won’t have to worry about this fee at all. Of course, another smart thing to do is to keep track of your balance so you don’t end up going over the limit. Set up text or email reminders that warn you when you’re approaching your limit. And another thing to keep in mind: charging your card all the way up to the limit is bad for your credit rating. Keep it to less than 30% of your limit to maintain the best credit rating. That means you should not be getting anywhere near your credit limit ideally.

• Cash advance fees. This one is a no-brainer. You should never get cash out of an ATM using your credit card, barring a true emergency. The fee is always high, the interest is sky-high because there’s a different rate for cash advances than for purchases, and you’ll be charged interest beginning right away, with no grace period. Try keeping a prepaid card with a small balance on it, in case you need to get cash out of an ATM for an emergency.

• Annual fees. These can be absolutely worth the money, as many cards that charge annual fees also give great rewards and benefits. Many of them waive their annual fee for the first year of membership, so look into a card that offers no fee for the first year. Even better, find one that offers a great promotion sign-on offer, like bonus miles or points after your first purchase.

Presto! No fees here. Now you can do magic—and even each others your tricks for being financially savvy.

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