First and foremost, be aware of what you're signing up for when you first get a credit card. While there may be pages and pages of fine print, it's important to at least skim through to see exactly what you're agreeing to before you sign on the dotted line.
One fee that is commonly thrown into the fine print is a credit limit fee. Consumers are often charged this when they ask to raise their credit limit. While it's good for your credit score to have more available credit, "some cards will charge you... as much as fifty percent," says Hennessey. "That's just outrageous and you shouldn't have to pay that just to have more credit."
Residual interest may also be hitting you in the wallet. "This means that if you're paying down debt over time and you're paying off a whole balance, just because you carried some balance that month... the following month they'll still assess interest on the balance from the previous month," says Hennessey. So, even if you've paid off your credit card, the credit card company may still be charging you on your previous balance.
Foreign transactions can also get tricky. Some banks and credit card companies will charge you more for a transaction because it takes place in another country. "They say it's because of currency and things like that, but that's bogus - that's not true," says Hennessey.
The good news is that now is a great time to try to get these extra fees waived. "There's competition... and Congress has looked into this," says Hennessey. Threaten to report the company to the appropriate authorities and take your business to another card if you have the ability to do so. While it may take some long phone calls to get the issues resolved, Hennessey says it's well worth it. "You have to make the time because they're taking money out of your pocket," says Hennessey.
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By Erin Petrun