Knowing Credit Card Fees

Using credit cards has its pros and cons. One of the least favorite thing about credit cards are the fees that come along with them. However, among the most common fees they charge, there’s not a single one you can’t avoid.

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, or CARD Act, helped make sure of that. Since the law’s 2009 inception, consumers no longer have to worry about “any time, any reason” interest-rate hikes and hair-trigger penalties.

Pay Bills on Time

Late or missing payments can wreak havoc on your credit and end up costing substantial amounts in late fees and higher interest. Make payments on time even if you’re only paying the minimum amount.

Pay Attention to Interest Rates

That great rate offered when you opened a store card in October may no longer be active. Make a list of all of your cards along with their current balances and interest rates. This information will help you gauge exactly how much you owe, what it’s going to cost and how long it will take to pay back.

Don’t Add to Your Debt

Make a promise to yourself and your budget to keep credit cards at home. Similarly, consider starting a saving fund; saving a little bit each month now can help you avoid excess debt. Some financial institutions even offer accounts to help facilitate your savings.

Consolidate Credit Card Debt

This can help in several ways. One payment is logistically easier to coordinate, and harder to forget, than several payments throughout the month. Plus, it’s typically better for your credit to have one high-balance card than several cards that are nearly maxed out.

Look for Best Consolidation Options

As a not-for-profit institution, a credit union is often able to provide lower rates for debt consolidation. Look for the lowest possible interest rate with no surprising fees or expenses. Pay down debt at a lower interest rate to save money, time and stress.

Watch Your Credit Report

Many financial institutions offer access to your credit report to help prevent a technical error from causing problems down the road.

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