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Q: I was surprised to learn that my credit card company is charging me a $1 fee to mail a paper statement to me each month. What is this?
A: The paper-statement fee is just one more way for credit card companies to earn a few bucks.
These are tough times for consumers. We all know this. But they’re also challenging times for the issuers of credit cards. Consumers, still reeling from the effects of the sluggish economy, are spending less.
This means that they are charging less, too. And when consumers charge less, banks earn less in fees and interest charges. Across a lot of consumers, this really starts to eat into the bottom line for banks. Especially since they are so used to seeing these numbers grow reliably year after year.
Enter the new fees.
A growing number of credit card companies are charging their customers fees — usually about $1 — for printing and sending them a paper statement each month. The banks see this fee as a way to incentive you to move to the more efficient process of reviewing your bills online.
If their customers elect not to receive a printed statement, and instead access their account balances and purchases electronically through their a secure online portal, they won’t have to pay this fee.
If you want to avoid this fee, then, it’s time to go paperless.
You can access your account easily online, at any time of day or night. There’s no real reason to wait for your credit card company’s paper statement to arrive in the mail.
Think of it as being kind to the environment. You will be eliminating your share of paper when you elect to forgo that monthly paper statement.