Beware of Hidden Fees


If you’re a debit or credit card user and you're not already paying close attention to hidden fees you could end up spending a fortune. The best way to avoid hidden fees is to know what they are and when they’re charged. Your credit card agreement will list fees charged. Here are some common hidden fees and our suggestions for avoiding them.

In some cases, annual fees are charged yearly for the convenience of having a credit card. With some, the benefits outweigh the cost. In some instances, credit card issuers waive the annual fee for the first year, which provides users the opportunity to enjoy the credit card before having to pay for it.

Believe it or not, some charge a fee if you don’t use the card for a certain period of time or fail to reach set annual spending limits. Credit card companies have been known to waive the inactivity fee for the first year, but it’s a good idea to read your agreement thoroughly.

If you or your children participate in online gaming, you need to know whether this includes spending real money. Some online games are free to access, but almost all feature additional purchases or subscriptions. For example, there may be an opportunity to buy virtual weapons, armor or gold. In most cases, such games require a debit card or credit card to sign up and start playing, which is automatically charged if purchases are made.

When buying currency for a game, most purchases are made through third-party sites and encourage the use of payment methods such as PayPal or Google Checkout. Be sure to know what to look out for when it comes to online security. Your browser should read https:// and the padlock symbol should also appear in the address bar of your browser. If you’re ever in doubt, don’t make the purchase.

Even if you or your children are playing more traditional subscription-based online games, it's worth regularly reviewing your bank account statements and credit card bills. If you allow your children to use your smartphone or tablet, consider switching off in-app updates. This will prevent racking up large bills for in-app purchases without realizing it.

These are just a few of the ways you can incur hidden fees as the user of a debit or credit card and how to avoid them. If you have any questions about hidden fees and debit cards or personal credit cards, get in touch with our team at our New Berlin, Springfield, Modesto, or Palmyra branches.