Many credit cards have fees. You will want to read your credit card agreement carefully to make sure you understand all the fees associated with your card. You can use the Federal Reserve’s consumer credit card agreements search to find general examples of the type and range of fees a credit card may have. Here are some common fee terms to look for:
- An application fee is charged when you apply for a credit card.
- An annual fee, membership fee, or participation fee is a charge for having the card. Some companies charge the entire fee once a year. Others charge a portion of the fee each month.
- A set-up fee is charged when you open a new credit card account.
- A cash advance fee is charged when you use your credit card to get cash. It may be a flat fee (for example, $3) or it may be a percentage of the cash advance (for example, 3 percent of the total amount of cash you requested, including any ATM fees).
- A balance-transfer fee is charged when you transfer a balance from one credit card to another. It may be a flat fee (for example, $3) or it may be a percentage of the transfer (for example, 3 percent of the amount transferred).
- A late-payment fee is charged if your payment is received after the due date.
- An over-the-limit fee is charged if you make a purchase that takes your balance over your credit limit. Under new Federal Reserve Board regulations, you must authorize your credit card company to allow you to go over your limit or the company cannot charge you this fee. If you don’t authorize your credit card company to permit you to exceed your credit limit, your transaction will most likely be rejected. For more information on this change, read our guide to the new credit card regulations.
- A credit-limit-increase fee is charged if you ask for and receive an increase in your credit limit.
Did you know?
Federal law limits the total fees charged during the first year after you open an account to 25% of the initial credit limit. For more information on your credit rights and protections, visit Credit Protection Laws or read our guide to the new credit card rules.
Your credit card may also offer insurance or debt coverage, often with an associated fee. You should read your agreement carefully to make sure you understand the services offered and any fees.
Common services that may have fees include:
- Insurance to cover your payments if you become unemployed or disabled, if you die, or if you encounter other situations outlined in your insurance policy.
- Debt suspension coverage that puts your payments on “hold.” You will still need to pay back the debt after your situation ends.
- Debt cancellation coverage that cancels your debt, so you won’t have to pay back any of your debt when your situation ends.
Lost or Stolen Cards
If your credit card is lost, stolen, or used without your authorization, you do not have to pay for any unauthorized charges greater than $50 under the Truth in Lending Act.
Call your credit card company as soon as you know you’ve lost your card or that your card number has been used without your authorization.
Keep a list of the customer service phone numbers for your cards in your files and carry it with you when you travel, so you have the numbers for all your cards in one place if your wallet or purse is lost or stolen. You can also check your monthly statement or your credit card company’s websites for a customer service number to call.