I keep getting charged credit card fees… can I avoid them?

Updated: Oct 19, 2021

Credit cards are undeniably cool - the simple art of pulling one out of your wallet to foot large bills is a movie-like dream. Add the new features that many credit cards now offer (don’t get me started on metal cards or airline miles) and they are hard to resist.

Yet, behind the luster of an Amex Gold or a Metallic Visa, are many hidden fees. Anyone who has a credit card will tell you of $$ being deducted from their bank accounts under confusing pretexts such as “Application Fees” (what am I applying for?) or “Account Setup Fees” (really?).

Read on to discover what these fees are as we let you in on a few useful tips to avoid as many as possible.

Research The (Almost) Unavoidable Fees

There are some fees that are charged simply by having a credit card. Application and Processing Fees for example, are the costs to get the card. Depending on your choice of card, Account Setup and Program Fees could be avoided in virtue of cards not charging them. Finally, Annual Fees are mostly found in cards that grant airline benefits. These fees are used to offset the benefits that you may receive but may be waived in the first year. Make sure to check that there is no automatic renewal of these fees and then exploit the benefits without paying the price by cancelling before the renewal.

Always Read The Fine Print

The steepest fees will be penalty fees - to avoid them make sure you always respect the card’s terms.

Use your Card Smartly

Once again the key is to know the terms well. Different cards will charge varying fees depending on their own policies. As an international student, always try to choose a card that doesn’t impose foreign charges, so that you can freely use it in your own country, too. Be aware that cards may have limits on the amount of cash accesses per month, beyond which a fee will be applied. In a similar way, both interest rates and transfer fees (see below) may be applied on transfers, so don’t be fooled by 0% interest rates - fees are right around the corner.

That’s a lot of fees…

We know! And for many cards, the list doesn’t stop there. Always remember: the devil is in the details. Cards cannot charge you fees that they haven’t announced so always make sure to determine your card usage based on what will and won’t make you incur a fee. On top of that, a high credit score will always put you at the bottom of the range for fees, so join ChrysCard to start building yours, even as an international student.

Stay tuned for future articles where we will give you a broader insight into what goes into your credit score!


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