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

home_rich_cover.03.jpg
For more information on managing your largest investment, check out Gerri Willis' 'Home Rich,' now in bookstores.
CDs & Money Market
MMA 0.40%
$10K MMA 0.36%
6 month CD 0.38%
1 yr CD 0.70%
5 yr CD 1.50%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

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

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.96%4.12%
15 yr fixed3.13%3.14%
5/1 ARM3.11%3.25%
30 yr refi4.00%4.17%
15 yr refi3.14%3.21%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,081.81 57.64 0.32%
Nasdaq 4,786.71 21.29 0.45%
S&P 500 2,087.05 4.88 0.23%
Treasuries 2.29 0.03 1.51%
Data as of Dec 24
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 18.04 0.12 0.64%
Gilead Sciences Inc 92.34 2.89 3.23%
General Electric Co 25.71 -0.17 -0.66%
Cisco Systems Inc 28.57 0.32 1.13%
Apple Inc 112.22 -0.32 -0.28%
Data as of Dec 24

Sections

JetBlue is offering to fly police to New York for the funeral of slain NYPD officers and is working to have the family of one of the officers flown in from overseas. More

Many Americans are buying more gifts -- and more expensive gifts -- for Christmas. That's squeezing some in the middle class. More

Marriott's plan to block Wi-Fi hotspots in its hotels is being opposed by Google and Microsoft. More

According to data from Google Trends and GrubHub, Chinese food remains the most popular type of food order on Christmas. More

If you're looking to sell your holiday gift cards for cold hard cash... there's an app for that. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.