Credit Card Dirty Tricks

There are many of us that have been badly stung by credit card companies that have charged exorbitant fees to use their credit cards. Several years ago an APR of 25% to 29% was common place which in simple terms means that if you borrow ?1,000 your interest on that money would be ?250 to ?290 a year. Criminal when you think of it but I suppose we have to consider interest rates were much higher 8 to 10 years ago and there were fewer credit card companies on the market.

Today the low interest rates that we are experiencing have spurned hundreds of loan and credit card companies cashing in on the cheap cost of borrowing. To get approved for a loan or a credit card nowadays has never been easier. With the advent of the internet you can get approved for a loan or credit card in 10 minutes. So we all have a few 0%, low interest rate credit cards in our bags and wallets but lets find out a bit more about the sting in the tail of these cards.

1. Monthly Repayments:
Well done if you pay your bill off each month in full. Like most of us we only pay off the minimum monthly repayment; this is usually a % of the outstanding balance or no less that ?5. Some credit cards will set the minimum repayment on a card at such a low amount that you inevitably end up paying the interest and nothing else. When this happens you end up with a compound interest scenario. Beware you could end up paying off a ?2,000 loan for the next 20 years.

2. Credit Card repayment protection (CCRP):
Credit Card companies make a fair amount of money out of you when you use their cards. But wait they want to make some more. Just in case you die or lose your job they will offer you Credit Card protection for a monthly fee. These are usually over priced. Most credit card companies make a fortune out of these policies as most people don't understand how these fees are calculated so don't know there true worth. What most people are buying is the piece of mind.

3. Penalty fees:
If you do not pay on time you will be charged a late payment fine. These vary depending on your credit card company. The best way to prevent this happening is to set up a direct debit. You get charged for exceeding your credit limit. Again this is a very sneaky way for the credit card companies to make money off of us. Most of us will slip up without even knowing it and a charge of ?25 can quite easily go unnoticed on our statements. Be diligent and don't give the card companies any excuse to make these charges.

4. Protection Plans:
This is another juicy money maker for the card companies. For an annual fee you will get protection on your card in the event of them being stolen, lost or used fraudulently. Most credit card companies usually don't charge for this and will refund you the money for any fraudulent transactions. I wouldn't suggest getting this.

5. Credit Limit increase:
You had a credit limit of ?3,000 and have been diligently paying off your card every month and all of a sudden your new credit card statement says you have a credit limit of ?10,000. You probably didn't ask for the increase but hey they gave it to you anyway. Psychologically this makes you think you have more money to spend but it is in fact a sneaky way of getting you to spend more money on your card. If you don't need it ask your credit card company to remove the new limit.

6. Foreign transaction charges It is usually quite convenient to use your credit card abroad on holiday or on a business trip. No need to carry large sums of foreign currency around with you. But wait for it ??.. You will be charge for this privilege (not surprised I am sure). You will be charged a commission depending on the amount you spend abroad which can vary from 3% to 5%.

7. Cash withdrawal charges: Not much new here. If you withdraw money from a cash point using your credit card you will be charged for the privilege. Remember nothing slips through. Card companies can charge in the region 3% of the amount drawn and the bad news as if this isn't bad enough, you won't benefit from any promotional 0% introductory offers that are currently running on your card.

As you can see credit card companies make money from us in more ways than we in most cases are aware of. Be smart and remember all these crucial aspects when using your credit card. You may be one of the few that limits the credit card companies from only making the bare minimum from you.

Grant Marwick is a freelance writer and owner of where you will find advice and more articles on Low interest Credit Cards and 0% Credit Cards