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Banks drop credit card fees

By Lucy Lazarony ·
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Posted: 1 pm ET

Some major credit card issuers are eliminating penalty interest rates and easing off some credit card fees, according to a Jan. 22 article in The Wall Street Journal.

Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Huntington Bank have stopped charging penalty interest rates on customers who pay late on their credit card bills. And Bank of America has eliminated late fees for customers with balances of $100 or less, according to the Journal.

And in recent months, Chase, Citibank and American Express have made moves to drop fees for foreign purchases from some of their credit cards.

In November, the British Airways Visa Signature card became the first airline rewards card to waive fees on international purchases, according to a press release from Chase Card Services.

In December, American Express announced plans to waive fees on foreign purchases for its platinum and Centurion card customers in the first quarter of 2011, according to a press release.

And Citibank is waiving foreign purchase fees on two new rewards cards, the Citi Thank You Premier Card and the Citi Thank You Prestige Card, according to a Jan. 4 press release.

Capital One has a longtime policy of not charging fees on foreign purchases on any of its credit cards.

Most banks and credit card issuers charge foreign currency conversion fees when customers make purchases outside the United States.  This fee is often 3 percent of every foreign purchase made with the card.

Keep in mind that issuers have the right to add or alter late fees and foreign currency conversion fees with just 45 days' advance notice. And penalty interest rates can be re-instated.

So be sure to monitor credit card accounts carefully.  A waived fee may not be waived forever.

And while having penalty interest rates waived will help consumers struggling and falling behind on card payments, they won't get off scot-free.

Falling behind on card payments could still trigger late fees and lower credit scores.

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