Credit cards: Fees, fees and more fees

Credit cards: Fees, fees and more fees
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Trying to get a clear picture of the fees and charges you're likely to be hit with by your credit card can be an indecipherable guessing game.

The number and types of fees can vary depending on which card you choose. To help you be aware of what to look for, here is a guide to some of the most common credit card fees and charges:

Annual fees

Most credit cards carry an annual fee, ranging from zero to as much as $700, depending on the benefits on offer. Some cards do not charge a fee for the first year to entice you to sign up, while a handful of cards charge no annual fee for the life of your card.

What you save in an annual fee, however, you may pay for with a higher interest rate so be careful when signing up for a card that looks too good to be true.

Cash advance fees

Using your credit card to withdraw cash doesn't come cheap. You'll end up paying either a flat fee or a percentage of the amount advanced – usually between 2 and 4 percent. Avoiding cash advances is a smart money move that can save you a lot over your lifetime and really, in today’s cashless world, there is no excuse for having to take out a cash advance.

Late payment fees

Late fees can add a fair whack to any credit card statement and considering most people are paying late because they don’t have the money up front it’s like adding insult to injury. The only real solution is to always try to pay your bill on time.

If you do have an off month and are charged a late fee even though you are normally a loyal and timely paying customer it may be worth calling your bank and asking them to waive the fee for that payment.

Foreign currency transaction fees

Whether you're travelling or shopping online, you may be hit with a foreign transaction fee for using your card in a country other than Australia. It does vary from card to card and you will find that some perform much better than others in this area, saving you a whole lot of money.

If you do spend a lot of time travelling or purchasing items online you may wish to consider a card catered specifically to your needs to avoid hefty foreign currency fees.

Over-limit fees

If you spend more than your credit limit, your bank may charge you an over-limit fee every time you exceed your credit limit during a statement cycle.

Some banks have abolished this fee but it’s worth checking the product disclosure fee of your card to see if you fall into this category.

Card replacement fees

Lost your card? Be prepared to pay for your mistake, as a growing number of banks now charge a replacement fee to replace cards. This fee isn’t really avoidable and if you need a card sent to you overseas you can expect the fee to be a little higher.

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