The Give and Take of Credit Card Fees

American Express and Discover will soon stop fining cardholders for going over their credit limit, an early result of new legislation designed to limit such fees. However, American Express plans to raise its late fees. And Consumer Reports revealed another way that American Express plans to replace its lost over-limit fee income: holders of American Express Blue and Blue Sky cards who are late in paying their bills will lose any reward points earned during that billing cycle. Once the account is returned to good standing the points may be recovered by paying a $29 fee. And here’s one more fee replacement tactic that just came to light via the Bargaineering blog: Some card companies will soon require customers to charge a certain amount every year in order to avoid fees — $2,400 per year according to one Citi MasterCard holder.

You know those fine print notices that come with your credit card statements–the ones you never read? It’s time to get out your magnifying glass and try to discipher the mouse print. The rules of the credit card game are changing rapidly, and for every cardholder-friendly change, you can count on at least one equal and opposite change.

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