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More and more credit card holders continue to see new fees on their monthly billing statements as credit card debt continues to increase.

According to a report by ABC News, a Pew Health Group Safe Credit Cards Project recently revealed that credit card interest rates went up an average of 20 percent in the first six months of 2009.

Forty-five percent of participants in a survey conducted by Credit.com, a San Francisco-based provider of credit card data, said that within the last several months card companies had either raised rates, imposed higher fees, increased their minimum payment or reduced credit lines, up from 33 percent earlier this year.  

USA Today reported that the annual fee is making a comeback with some bank cards. At one point, annual fees were charged to some customers who were considered ‘higher risk’ card holders.

Now however, many card holders who avoid charging more than a specific amount on their cards each year as well as those who carry a balance that they can easily pay off in full each month are finding themselves being charged an annual fee. In addition, some consumers are being penalized with ‘inactivity’ fees if they don’t use their credit cards during a specific period of time.

In addition to escalating interest rates, many credit card holders are finding that rewards programs and promotional rates are also being scaled back by many card issuers. Fees are also being charged for purchases made outside the United States.

How Can You Take Action?

MSN Money reminds card holders that they should take time to go over their monthly credit card bill carefully and pay close attention to rate change notices. Above all, consumers who choose to have a credit card should make all credit card payments on time. Late payments may be used as an excuse for card companies to increase your interest rate.  

If you received warning from your card issuer that you will be seeing an increased interest rate, USA Today suggests contacting your lender to express dissatisfaction in their term changes. Ask the card issuer if they would be willing to waive the fees. If they decline to do so, you always have the option of closing your account. If the card was newly-issued, it may be worth considering according to ABCnews.com which also suggests keeping a longstanding account open, but paying down the balance without making any new charges.  

Transferring your balance to another lower-interest card could be an option, however be aware that some credit card issuers charge customers a fee to transfer balances.  

A Light At The End Of The Tunnel?

CreditCARD Act legislation, initially scheduled to take effect in February 2010, is now slated to go into effect December 1.

The legislation has good intentions - it aims to restrict credit card companies from charging extra fees. Among other unfair practices, credit card companies will also be banned under the new law from charging customers higher interest rates without fair warning.

In the meantime, however, credit card debt is on the rise. Card holder debt increased 14 percent nationally from September 2009, according to reports from InsideARM and CreditKarma.com.  

_Credit Answers offers low fee debt settlement with guaranteed results. TASC-Certified for the highest standards in the settlement industry, Credit Answers works to enable a fresh financial start for individuals with debt problems. Give us 10 minutes and learn how you can save thousands on your unsecured debt. 1-800-297-6417_




Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote Dec 21, 2009
    • Thank you for this information. I know that a lot of Americans have charged on their credit cards just to pay medical bills and keep food on the table. It’s so sad. I know it’s not everyone that uses their credit and shops for unnecessary things. This kind of treatment by the card companies will just bury these people.

      I still get tons of mail with lowered interest rates, pre approved card offers - they all go in the shredder!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kandykahne 5 wrote Dec 21, 2009
    • Great information!happy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Dec 21, 2009
    • Sadly in the UK we are living in a bubble as interest rates are low so when they do go up lots of people will be hit.
      It's a shame when people are existing by just putting everything on their credit cards .......



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