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The Credit Card Reform Act of 2009 was supposed to eliminate all those pesky fees and charges levied by credit card companies. And the law did succeed in that regard to some extent. However, credit card companies are finding other ways to sneak penalty fees into your account agreements.
You may already know about the higher base interest rates, increased annual fees, and hiked balance transfer and cash advance fees that are associated with today’s credit card accounts. But here are some other ways that credit card issuers are trying to reach into your pocket:
- Upfront processing fees. To get around legally-enacted annual fee limits, companies are levying these fees against consumers who may have supbar credit scores. These “processing” fees may run in the hundreds of dollars.
- Inactivity fees. Technically, these are illegal under the reform legislation. But instead of penalizing you for not using the card, companies are setting “minimum spending limits” which result in a penalty fee if they are not met.
- Foreign transaction fees. These are still legal, and they are currently rising faster than any other category of credit card fees. They are assessed on every transaction made outside of your home country.
I’ve said this many times before, but I will say it again – ALWAYS read the fine print when signing up for a credit card. This will save you time in the long run, you won’t be stuck waiting on hold to speak to customer service about an unknown fee.