Reduce Credit Card Fees Tips & Tricks
Fees and charges; it seems that credit cards have a never-ending list of them. So how do you avoid them? How can you have the convenience of a credit card without it breaking the bank? The first thing you need to do is choose the credit card that’s right for you.
If you already have an idea of the kind of benefit you want, MoneyBuddy lets you compare a range of credit cards quickly and easily. Our tool shows all the different fees, interest rates, and other important features, it also makes it easy to apply online.
Main Features To Look Out For:
Interest Free Period
Kate is looking for a credit card. She plans to use her card for everyday expenses and pay it off in full each month after payday. After weighing up all her options, Kate has decided on a card with 55 days interest free.
The card Kate has chosen has a higher interest rate than standard 'no-interest-free-days' cards, however, by paying the statement in full each month she will avoid these fees entirely.
Make sure you understand exactly when the interest begins to accrue. Kate's card offers 55 days interest free from the date the statement is issued, but some offer the interest free period from the date of purchase. This can make a big difference to the amount of time you have to pay the bill before interest is charged.
Also be aware that any payments made to your account will be debited to the oldest transaction first. Making a purchase and paying it off a week later will not save you interest charges if you already have transactions from two months ago still awaiting payment.
A final note on interest free days: Kate doesn't plan on making cash advances with her new credit card which is another important consideration for her. Cash advances will accrue interest immediately from the time the money is withdrawn.
Other Fees And Charges
If Kate wasn't planning on paying off her credit card in full each month, she would need to minimise her other fees and charges instead.
- Annual fee – not all cards have an annual fee. For those that do, the fee can vary wildly from a few dollars to over a hundred dollars. Some providers will waive these fees for the first year as an enticement to new customers, others waive the fee to existing customers with an existing relationship balance with the bank, such as a home loan. Quite often, the cards with no annual fee have a higher interest rate.
- Interest rate – anyone who has spent any time at all hunting for a new credit card will be able to tell you that interest rates vary between cards, just as drastically as the annual fee can. A number of institutions are now offering low interest rate cards (around 10%) which compare favourably with some other cards that have a rate of 18 or 19%, or more.
- Overdue fees – by avoiding unnecessary fees, such as charges for an overdue bill or charges made when you breach your credit limit, you can substantially reduce the total of your statement.
Balance Transfer Rates
Many providers also offer incentives such as a low interest rate on balance transfers from other cards. This interest rate can be as little as 0% over a specified time limit - generally 6 months, although a few cards offer low balance transfer rates for the life of the transfer.
By taking advantage of this, great savings can be made. And if you take the time to consider all the variables involved in the cost of a credit card, and weigh up the savings that can be made with lower annual fees or lower interest rates, your rectangle of plastic really can become extremely useful.