Did you check your card statement for “grey charges”?

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

If not, it’s high time you did it!

According to a recent research, about a third of all credit and debit card holders report so-called “grey charges”; and probably more don’t even notice them.

Grey charges are deceptive and unwanted credit or debit card charges – small enough not to notice but they may turn into significant amount in total per year: sometimes up to $500 per person and even more according to the research.

The growing use of debit and credit cards and growing popularity of online shopping have made it easier for retailers to charge such fees. And the most common grey charge occurs when you sign up for a service or product which you think is free, but after introductory (or trial) period you start getting charged for it. These fees, which are also called “free-to-paid” fees, present nearly half of all grey charges.

So-called “phantom” fees – the fees which are charged for the received extra product or service you didn’t request – are second “popular” grey charges.

Another basic category is “hidden fees”. All in all, there was presented 11 different types of grey fees which total $14.3 billion last year, according to the research.

These grey charges are not necessarily fraudulent or illegal. They are a result of misunderstanding, unclear contracts and sneaky billing practices. So, how can you avoid grey charges? Here are some tips:

  • read carefully the agreements and terms and conditions before making an online purchase;
  • track your spendings and frequently check your bank account;
  • scan your card statements closely and investigate any charge you do not recognize;
  • look for charges for something you think you’ve unsubscribed or cancelled and follow up with the seller.

Take care of your finances and don’t forget to thoroughly read your credit or debit card statement this month.

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