Whatever happened to credit and debit card fees? You might remember I wrote about debit cards being cash cows for banks, which was followed by a post on major banks eliminating fees. Banks exist to profit, so many are raising existing fees to make up for ones that have been disallowed. Here is a list from Billshrink with examples. The good news is that these fees are much more transparent and upfront.
- Credit card interest rates are rising. Over the past six months, nearly 20% of card issuers have raised interest rates over 25%.
- Annual fees are up. Bank of America has added annual card fees that can range from $29 to $99 for a limited group of cardholders based on risk and profitability. Similarly, in April 2010, Citigroup added a $60 annual fee to some credit card accounts when the cardholder has annual purchases under $2400.
- Balance transfer rates have increased by 10% across the board since February.
- Foreign transaction fees are also on the rise. Fees applied to purchases made outside the US (including online shopping transactions) now average 2-3%, up from 1%.
- ATM fees now average $3.50 per transaction. ATM fees rose 13% this last year, and banks are generated more than a $10 billion a year in revenue from people who use their ATM cards in other bank’s ATM machines.
- The end of free checking? Bank of America and Wells Fargo are two banks that have started to charge a monthly maintenance fee on checking accounts. By January 2011, it is predicted that fees on checking accounts will be the norm.
My take: it’s a good time to call your credit card company and check how each of these fees have changed for your card. Make sure to ask if any increases are coming in the next 12 months. Increase the amount of your ATM withdrawals so you will not be tempted to get cash from a non-bank ATM. Or consider joining a non-traditional bank that reimburses you for all ATM fees.