Chapter 3: Costs and fees

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Now that you’ve found a low-interest card, don’t let other fees and charges spoil it.

Finance charges, late fees, over-the-limit fees, balance-transfer fees and other fees can add up quickly. Fees can make paying off the balance a distant goal. Don’t let that happen. This chapter explains every type of fee you could possibly be charged and offers tips on how to avoid them. We also discuss how to keep the interest rate from increasing so that your low-rate card stays that way.

What can you expect to learn from this chapter:

  • How finance charges are figured

    An easy-to-understand chart explains how various types of finance charges are calculated.

  • FAQ on fees

    Late fees, over-the-limit fees, maximum allowable APR and more: Here are the answers to common questions.

  • How to avoid late fees

    These seven tips to help you avoid paying late fees may save you a bundle.

  • Why your rates go up

    You may think it’s just because you were late with a payment. It may be — but here are some other reasons why your rates might go up.

  • Hefty cost of going over the limit

    When you overspend your credit limit, the fees can be exorbitant. We give you five ways to avoid going over your limit.

  • When is a ‘fixed’ rate not fixed?

    Our Debt Adviser explains when the issuer can raise your rate — and explains how to avoid balance-transfer fees, too.