September 9 2010|09.40 AM UTC

Samantha Eckles

10 Fees You Shouldn’t Be Paying For

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If you’ve  been too busy focusing on tightening your abs and not your belt this summer, we’ve put together the below list of 10 fees you shouldn’t be paying for, to help you get your finances back on track this fall.

1. Directory Assistance Fees.

You’re not still calling 411 are you? Carriers can charge $1.25 or more for every 411 call. Try using a service like 1-GOOG-411 or (800) FREE-411 for free directory assistance.

2. In-store Credit Card Fees

Beware of in-store promotional cards that offer an initial store discount.  An introductory 0% interest rate can quickly leap to over 20% with just one late payment. Also, when you apply for a new card, an inquiry is made to the credit bureau, which may slightly lower your credit score.

3. Non Bank ATM Fees

ATM Fees can add up. They can also be slightly misleading; it’s not unusual for ATM convenience fees to cost $2.00, and for the card-issuing bank to charge up to an additional $2.50 as a non-bank ATM Fee. As a result, it may cost up $4.50 to withdraw $20.00.

4.  Credit Card Late Fees/Overdraft Fees

Paying late fees on credit cards and bills, and overdraft fees on bank accounts can be a disheartening use of one’s hard-earned money. Especially when a minimum payment on a credit card of $15 is missed, resulting in a late fee that can be as high as $39 (and perhaps result in an APR% increase). Overdraft fees add up, especially when they are made in quick succession, resulting in fees for each transaction made while an account is overdrawn. Luckily starting this week there are new consumer protections thanks to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, but interest rate hikes last year, mainly due to late fee penalties, cost Americans more than $10 billion.

5. Car Maintenance Fees

Unless a car is under warranty, going to a dealership for a repair is one sure way to overspend. Car dealerships often promise that certain work can only be done by authorized dealerships, and are less-inclined to negotiate prices, something that should be done with any type of auto maintenance.

6. Airline Cancellation Fees

We know that we’re all busy, and some scheduling conflicts are unavoidable and there’s no way to account for the things that “just come-up.” But, when it comes to travel, there are hefty fees for changing the date of a flight.

7. Cell Phone Early Termination Fees

Most of the major U.S.-based cell phone service providers tack on significant fees if you cancel your wireless plan before the end of the two-year contract.

8. Cable Company Contracts Cancellation Fees

Admittedly, most of our kids LOVE the boob-tube, and as they grow up (or as various sports seasons start), you may get talked into upgrading your current cable provider to go for the package that gets you the shows that will keep the family happy.  But be careful, canceling a TV service is not cheap!

9. Roaming Fees

Make sure that you understand the way your roaming and international charges work. Not every service charges extra fees for these, but many do. Since you can still be using your phone in the normal way, but in a slightly different place, it’s easy to accidentally rack up huge extra fees without doing anything that feels unusual. Some roaming rates are an unforgiving $2.49 per minute. And, some carriers will even charge you to access your voicemail (a charge of $4.99 for a missed call) even when you don’t pick up that call while you are roaming. The biggest “ouch” charges could occur if you happen to send a video message to your pals while on vacation, which could cost a whopping $7 per message!

10. Reward Card Annual Fees

Why pay an annual fee for rewards when you can get them for free?  Beat the system and get a card with no annual fees and great perks. Capital One No Hassle Miles Rewards, Chase Sapphire Card, and Pen Fed Visa Platinum Cashback Rewards are examples of cards that charge no annual fee, but offer great rewards.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Grace Ann Puente September 10, 2010 at 3:06 pm

The numbers you have posted for free Directory Assistance do not work!


Norm October 4, 2010 at 12:32 pm

the number 1GOOG411 comes up as restricted on my cell phone, it there something you left out? This number is not 10 digits, area code plus number.


BillShrink Guy October 4, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Woops, fail on editing part. The number is: 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411)


Ashley October 6, 2010 at 11:58 pm

Try 1-800-Free-411


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