Credit-card fee shenanigans

By Gerri Willis, CNN personal finance editor


NEW YORK (CNN) -- We're a little over a month away from sweeping credit card reform. And credit card issuers have been preparing for the loss of revenue by introducing new fees and policies. You could even be charged for NOT using your credit card.

1. More fees

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Here's what's going on: For months, issuers have raised credit card rates and fees at a dizzying pace. Now, a growing number are starting to tack on new card fees.

In June, Fifth Third Bank began charging a $19 fee if credit card borrowers had no account activity in 12 months. There are also variations on this inactivity fee. There's a quasi-inactivity fees -- Citigroup has a policy on some cards where if you don't spend up to a certain amount you'll be charged a fee up to $90.

Bank of America will start experimenting with new annual fees from $29 - $99. Citi now has a policy where credit card borrowers who pay late, have to pay a reinstatement fee in order to redeem accumulated rewards points, according to Curtis Arnold of Cardratings.com. And you may be charged if you get a paper statement instead of an electronic one.

2. Consumers beware

Read every letter that comes from your credit card issuer! These changes may come buried in fine print. Experts we talk to say that you may be receiving a lot of promotional APR deals. These promotional offers will lure you in with low rates for a limited amount of time. But then, at the end of the promotional period, you may be subject to an interest rate that's much higher than the original offer. The takeaway here is before you sign up for to a promotional card, make sure you can pay off your balance in full before the intial offer expires.

-- CNN's Jen Haley contributed to this article.

Talkback: Have you discoved any new credit card fees lately? To top of page

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