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Finally, some good news concerning credit card debt. According to MSNBC, the average amount of credit card debt per consumer fell to its lowest level in the second quarter of this year since 2002. The quarterly figure of $4,951 was 13% lower than the same period in 2009.
But just because credit card debt has dropped to below pre-recession levels does not mean that consumers should let down their guard. Even after the Credit Card Reform Act of 2009, banks and other credit card issuers are satill finding legal ways to gouge cardholders. Here are some of the most common:
- High penalty fees. Certain penalty fees were capped under the legislation, but if a cardholder incurs certain fees repeatedly, the card issuers can still raise penalty fee levels.
- High interest rates. Many of the standard annual percentage rates on cards are higher than they have been in years past. And although every customer must get 45 days’ notice before rates are hiked, companies can still increase them.
- High annual fees. Many cards which didn’t used to have annual fees are getting them, and the existing yearly fees are rising.
Credit card customers should continue to watch their statements and be wary of any additional charges on their bills. If you are using a credit card to rack up rewards we almost never recommend carrying a balance – the fees and charges you accrue will quickly outpace the rewards you are earning.