We’ve talked about the changes ahead for credit cards. Well, they’re here.
Some banks will now charge an annual fee for credit card customers who don’t use their cards often enough or meet a certain purchasing threshold. Rumor has it that some may even charge an annual fee if you don’t carry a balance.
So much for being diligent about paying bills and not paying interest.
What can you do if your credit card issuer makes you pay an annual fee if you have no balance or no use?
• Call and complain. Yes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and fees may be waived for customers who call, especially if you have a good relationship with your bank/credit union.
• Close that card and get a new one without an annual fee. BUT, before you do, check your credit report (your credit utilization is 15% of your credit score) to make sure you can get one with terms you like. Yes, your credit score will be affected if you close an account, especially if you’ve had that card awhile. But it may be worth it if you don’t use the card often and will get dinged with fees.
• Maybe you just need to use the card. Some issuers are culling lists to get rid of dead weight. Is it worth it to you to make minimum purchases (perhaps $1000 a year) to chase away fees? Just be sure you need the items and will pay off the bill when it comes.