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Dvorkin On Debt: Credit Cards Are Still Crazy About Fees

This summer, CreditCards.com conducted their annual – and infuriating – Credit Card Fee Survey. The website studied 100 of the top credit cards and totaled up all the fees they charge. Guess how many they came up with.

Seriously, guess…

  1. 100
  2. 200
  3. 300
  4. 400
  5. 500

…whatever number you chose, you’re wrong.

“The 100 surveyed cards charge a total of 593 fees, down from 613 in our 2015 fee survey,” CreditCards.com reported. So the good news is, that’s 20 less distinct fees from one year to the next.

The bad news is, that’s still a stunningly depressing number of fees.

We’re not just talking late fees, annual fees, and balance transfer fees. We’re also talking about fees for buying a wire transfer, fees for stopping payment, and fees for using your credit card overseas (called a foreign transaction fee, and especially despised by Debt.com because it doesn’t cost your credit card company one penny extra.)

There’s even a fee for getting a paper copy of an old account statement, which 21 of the top 100 cards still charge for — between $5 and $10.

This is exactly why Debt.com has written, Stop paying those stupid credit card fees. It’s one thing to pay for a service and receive something valuable in exchange. Credit card fees, however, deliver you little or nothing.

In my second book, Power Up, I caused a stir by suggesting every American goes cold turkey from their credit cards at least once in their lives…

Learning to live without a credit card is an integral part of financial empowerment. The lessons you discover will add to your building blocks that will eventually lead to your financial independence. Those who don’t use credit cards take money much more seriously than credit card users. The act of physically handing over the dollars to a cashier or waitress generates a feeling of loss. The money is gone.

Now I can add another reason to my argument: See how much in fees you’ll save. Sure, you’ll miss the rewards points, but I wonder if most Americans add up both sides of the ledger. Do your fees and interest rates swamp your rewards earnings? I’d love to see a study on that!

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