What's so bad! In a decade it's gone up 150%, while the grace period to pay the bill has shrunk from 31 days to as few as 20.
Ouch! The top fee today is $39.
What you can do Mail your check seven to 10 days before the due date, suggests Linda Sherry of Consumer Action. Or schedule automatic payments. If you're late once or twice, most issuers will waive the fee. Repeat offenders won't be so lucky and may face a penalty interest rate on their balance, too.
27. Balance-transfer fee
What it is The price you pay to move your credit-card balance to another card to score a lower rate. As rates have climbed over the past two years and more borrowers have hopped from one 0% offer to the next, issuers have introduced this fee (and killed fee caps).
What's so bad The issuer levying the fee is getting your business, not losing it.
Ouch! Bank of America charges 3% of the balance, with no limit.
What you can do Pick Capital One, which has no balance-transfer fees on most cards. Wachovia exempts new customers.