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With our lives so busy, credit card fees aren’t the first thing on our minds when using them in our everyday lives. Unfortunately, ignoring them won’t make them disappear, and these fees can add up in time and come as an unpleasant surprise. Most Americans use credit cards daily for various transactions and don’t think twice about it- that is, until they receive the bill. If you aren’t vigilant, it could build up to astronomical amounts.
We asked financial experts what we can do about this, and here is a compilation of their best pieces of advice on lowering your credit card fees.
Merchants submit batches of transactions to be paid at the end of the day. The best exchange rate is usually obtained by paying within 24 hours. If not, you may face an interchange downgrade. The only exceptions are travel and entertainment companies, which usually have eight days. If you're a retailer, don't delay your clearing call. If you can specify a capture delay, go with immediate or one day. This way, you may take advantage of the greatest exchange rates available that day.
Gerrid Smith, CEO & Founder of Property Tax Loan Pros
We recently discussed how important it is to use a card reader to handle credit card transactions. Older credit card readers can't scan EMV chip cards. With chip cards, each transaction generates a unique code. Non-EMV card readers result in higher interchange costs. These increased costs may be referred to as EMV non-compliance or EMV non-enabled fees.
Aside from the increased costs associated with utilizing a chip card rather than an EMV reader, processing a fraudulent payment may cost you much more. Since October 2015, retailers that do not use the more secure EMV procedure are liable for this kind of fraud.
Ethan Howell, Co-Owner of Florida Environmental
Sign-up bonuses are typically only useful if you’re planning to put a large amount of purchase volume on that credit card anyway. In that case, you’re better off just using a cashback card because the rewards will be worth more.
Using cashback cards, I fill by re-depositing my rewards into a savings account. If you want to use your rewards to buy stuff, go ahead and get a points or miles card and buy stuff at the places that give you the best discounts.
Always make sure to use your card only at establishments that accept it; never be tempted to use it in establishments that are not meant to accept it. You should also do the same with ATMs; make sure it is a machine that accepts your card. Exceptions can apply when you are traveling abroad. Use your card in establishments that accept foreign cards in countries that do not accept American Express to avoid huge fees in exchange for US dollars or pay with cash.
As far as fees go, processing fees are the big scourge of credit card users. If you shop online and buy things from stores that don't store your information but store the information of processing companies that you might not even know exist, then you will probably be paying processing fees as well as their online store's standard fee.
Kevin McGuire, ex-Personal Finance Expert, Founder & CEO Metro Precision Painting
There are a few different strategies that you can use to lower the fees on your credit card.
First, check the interest rate of your credit card. You may be able to get a new card with a lower interest rate, which could save you money in the long run. If this is not an option for you, make sure you make payments on time every month to avoid higher late fees.
Second, try to spend less with your credit card, which will allow you to pay off more of the balance each month. This way, fewer overall fees will accumulate over time. Thirdly, if possible, pay off an entire balance each month - this will save you from high interest rates or other expenses that come with carrying a credit card balance.
I hope I’ve been able to answer your question as clearly as possible. If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me via email (this is probably the quickest and easiest way to get a hold of me).
Dana Ronald, President of Tax Crisis Institute
Using a credit card carelessly is never wise because it is the quickest way to land into a debt trap. And the interest rates on credit cards rack up really quickly. Here are a few ways to lower the credit card fees-
On any credit card, it is mandatory to pay only 5% of the total outstanding amount every month. This balance can be rolled over to the next month. But if you let it keep accumulating, then soon you'll have a huge amount to pay, and you can land into a debt trap.
Until you have your outstanding amount cleared, don't get any new purchases since they will add to the total fee you have to pay.
Using credit cards abroad can be more expensive than usual because of conversion rates. Instead, use a Forex card for better pricing and keep the overall cost at bay.
David Attard, Digital Consultant, and Web Designer Collectiveray