If you pay your credit card bill late, you expect to get hit with a fee.
If you transfer a balance to another card, you know it will cost you.
But what you don't know can hurt you, too, and that's certainly the case with credit card fees.
Here's what to look out for.
NEW ACCOUNTS. Companies can charge a fee just for setting up a new card. Those with a poor credit history get stuck with this the most, says Kari Luckett, editor at CompareCards.com. This one-time fee ranges from $10 to $50 an application. "If you and your spouse apply for a joint credit card, you both pay an application fee. The good news is this fee cannot exceed 25 percent of your initial credit limit."
Do your homework; many cards don't charge this fee.
INTERNATIONAL HEADACHES. When traveling overseas, be aware of foreign transaction fees, which can range from 2 percent to 5 percent of every purchase, says J.J. Burns, a certified financial planner with JJ Burns & Co. in Melville.
If asked whether you want your charge to be paid in your own currency or not, choose local currency. Though you'll still pay the exchange fee, you'll stop losing money to completely unnecessary fees, which can add 4 percent to 7 percent extra to the transaction cost.
RECONSIDER CASH ADVANCES. It's bad enough when you're in a pinch and need a cash advance, but this transaction is going to cost you. "Typically, there is a separate fee, as well as a higher interest charge to advance these funds," warns Burns.
Luckett says the fee can be flat, say $10 per every $100 withdrawn, or a percentage, such as 4 percent of the total.