Credit card charges: 10 credit card fees to be aware about

Credit cards are useful – but there are a range of fees to watch out for.

We collectively make around $3 billion of credit card transactions per month, and we are paying interest on slightly more than $6 billion of credit card debt. Credit cards are big business.

In addition to the interest rate charged on credit cards, which you will generally pay if you carry an ongoing debt on your card, there are a range of other fees that you might possibly be charged that you really should know about. Most of them are avoidable – but only if you know about them in the first place!

 

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The credit card annual/ongoing fee

Many credit card providers charge us a reasonably high interest rate on any outstanding balance we have on our credit card – on Canstar’s database the purchase interest rate on credit cards varies from 5.64% right up to 25.45% – and many credit cards also charge an annual, semi-annual or ongoing fee. Averaging this fee out over a year, it can range from $0 up to $395, with rewards cards tending to attract a higher annual fee. Across the credit cards on Canstar’s database there are, at time of writing:

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7 credit cards that don’t charge an annual fee

9 credit cards with an annual fee of less than $50

16 credit cards with an annual fee between $50 and $100

10 credit cards with an annual fee between $101 and $200

3 credit cards with an annual fee more than $201

 

Credit card annual fee for a subsequent card.

In addition to charging you an annual fee, some card providers might also charge you another annual fee on any subsequent/supplementary card attached to your account. This is not as common, but you still should ask the question, just in case.

 

Credit card foreign currency conversion fee

If you’re using your credit card overseas – or even buying something online in New Zealand that originates overseas – you can expect to pay a currency conversion fee of around 3 percent. That’s a fee on top of whatever exchange rate is on offer at the time.

If you are travelling with your credit card, you should also know about dynamic currency conversion. Also check out Canstar’s travel credit card ratings report.

 

Credit card ATM cash advance fee

Getting cash out at the ATM, if you use your credit card, can cost you up to 5% of the amount. Plus, interest on that cash advance starts accruing from Day 1. Plus of course (and this is a bank charge rather than card-specific) you could also be charged another flat dollar fee if you use an ATM outside your own bank’s network.

Credit card late payment fee

Each month you will be required to make a minimum repayment on the balance owing on your credit card (ideally, pay it off each month if you can!). If you don’t make this payment by the due date, you might be charged a late payment fee.

Across the credit cards on Canstar’s database there are, at time of writing:

Credit Card Fees

1 credit card that doesn’t charge a late payment fee

6 credit cards that charge less than $10 as a late payment fee

34 credit cards that charge a late payment fee of between $11 and $15

4 credit cards that charge a late payment fee of between $21 and $30

 

Foreign currency cash advance

Just as you may have to pay a cash advance fee for withdrawing cash at an ATM in New Zealand, you may also pay a fee for withdrawing cash from your credit card while you’re overseas. Plus the use of ATM fee!

 

Credit card over the limit fee

Your bank does have to get your permission to allow your credit card to go over its limit, but if you do allow this, be prepared that you might pay for it.

 

Credit card dishonour of direct credit fee

If you pay your credit card by direct debit, and that payment is dishonoured, you may be hit with a dishonour fee on your credit card.

 

Credit card over the counter payment fee

Yes, you can be charged for paying your credit card bill. It’s not a common fee – there are only a small handful of institutions that charge it – but you could be looking at a cost to pay your credit card bill in person, over the counter.  Also, and while the fee is relatively modest, a small number of card providers will charge you a small amount if you want to pay your credit card statement via BPay.

 

Replacement credit card fee

Don’t lose your credit card (or wear it out)! Getting a replacement could cost you money as well. Although to be fair, most of the credit cards on Canstar’s database don’t charge a replacement card fee.

 

In summary, be aware of the potential to be charged…

Replacement credit cards

An annual fee

An annual fee for a subsequent card

Foreign currency conversion fee

ATM cash advance fee

Late payment fee

Foreign currency cash advance fee

Over the limit fee

Dishonour fee

Over the counter payment fee

Replacement credit card fee

 

If there’s any moral to this list of fees, it’s probably that they are mostly avoidable by changing your card usage habits. The  main thing is to simply be aware of them. Read those boring Ts & Cs that relate to your credit card so that you know what costs you might be up for.

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