- Foreign transaction fees
- Extra card fees
- Cash advance fees and interest rates
- Balance transfer fees and interest rates
- Overlimit fee
- Late payment fee
- Dishonoured payment fee
- Points reinstatement fee
- Statement reprint
- Installment fee
- Travel change fee
Like little money monsters hiding under your bed…you’ve got to make sure you check the fine print when choosing a credit card.
There are hidden credit card fees lurking behind every corner…whether you’re travelling, adding an extra card, or withdrawing cash, you could be charged a fee you didn’t even know existed.
Here’s what fees to be on the lookout for, and the best credit cards that let you avoid them entirely.
Foreign transaction fees
When swiping your card outside of Canada, or even when you process a transaction in a foreign currency while buying online, there can be a fee associated with that purchase – usually around 2.5% of the total.
This seemingly small percentage can really add up, especially during a long trip overseas.
Luckily there are a few cards that don’t charge this fee.
Check out more details here:
Prefer not to pay for an annual fee? The
Extra card fees
Adding an extra card can be necessary (and beneficial) for some, but it can come at a cost.
Whether you have a joint account with your partner to earn extra rewards, giving an extra to your child as an emergency card, or a business that needs multi-card access – extra card fees can really rack up your bill.
American Express can be a great option when an extra card or two is necessary, as most of their cards don’t include a charge for adding at least one additional card.
Here’s one to keep in mind:
You’ve got options, though. There’s also the
You earn two points per dollar spent on anything. No categories, no caps, no tiers. Simple.
Cash advance fees and interest rates
Withdrawing cash from a credit card can often come with cash advance fees that will be either a flat rate or percentage of the transaction. The money you take out will typically have higher interest rates than if you were to make a normal transaction as well.
You also start paying interest on your withdrawn cash right away. There’s no grace period for cash withdrawals.
If you’re going to be withdrawing cash from your card often, it might be worth looking into applying for a low cash advance fee card, like the
This card has a cash advance interest rate of 12.99% and a flat cash advance fee of $5 – making it perfect for cash withdrawals.
Balance transfer fees and interest rates
Transferring debt from one card to another can come at a hefty price, typically at a 22.99% interest rate.
If you’re looking to transfer an existing balance to another card, try the
When you sign up, you get a promotional rate of 0% for 10 months.
Once the promotion period is up, there’s a permanently low interest rate of 12.99% if you haven’t finished paying off your balance.
The balance transfer fee is 3% of the total amount being transferred, with a minimum charge of $7.50. If you live in Quebec, there’s no balance transfer fee for this card.
For a lower balance transfer fee, the
Going over your card limit is a mistake anyone can make. Avoid as much damage as possible to your score and avoid a pesky fee while you’re at it (usually $29).
Since it was removed from the
Late payment fee
If you’re late on a payment, banks can take advantage of you by hiding a late payment interest rate in the fine print. Make sure you’re getting the best rate possible and you don’t get put in the penalty box.
A great card with no late payment fee is the
You’ll earn up to 3,000 AIR MILES as a welcome bonus and earn 1 mile for every $10 spent.
Dishonoured payment fee
If a payment isn’t processed because a bank returns a cheque or refuses a pre-authorized debit, a fee will be charged to your account. Depending on the issuer, it can range from $25 to $48. Here are a few examples:
- RBC: $45
- BMO: $48
- Scotiabank: $48
- Tangerine: $25
- American Express: $25
Points reinstatement fee
If you fail to use your points within a given period, it’s going to cost you. Many credit card specific programs will forfeit your points if you fail to keep your card in good standing as well.
For example, Aeroplan currently states “You may buy back expired miles at a cost of 1¢ per mile, a $30 administration fee, and applicable taxes.”
American Express currently reinstates them for a $35 administrative fee and you can only redeem them within 24 months of forfeiting the points.
If you need a statement reprinted, you need to be aware of the associated fee. This fee is something a lot of banks are doing away with since most statements are available via online banking as a PDF.
Most banks set this cost at $5 like CIBC or Scotiabank, but often the best solution is printing the PDF online.
If your bank allows you to pay your balance in installments, they will charge you a fee. This is relative to the length of time you’ve decided to pay it in, and the amount you owe.
For example, American Express charges 2% per 3 months, 3% per 6 months and 5% per 12 months.
Travel change fee
If an unexpected event comes up and you have to change your travel booking, make sure it’s worth the fee. Air Miles currently charges $10 – $50/person plus applicable taxes. There are no cancellations or refunds permitted on tickets once booked.
Aeroplan recently changed its policy in regard to travel changes. If cancelling within 24 hours of booking, you’re able to get a full refund. You can also now get a full refund of your flight rewards – if you cancel up to 2 hours prior to departure.
We want to hear from you
So the next time you’re signing up for a new card, look underneath the bed…or just read the fine print for the hidden credit card fee monsters.
They answer to foreign transactions, extra cards, cash advances, balance transfer, and more.
Have you ever been travelling and racked up a transaction fee that scared you?
Been hit with a cash advance fee that made you want to hide under the covers?
Let us know in the comments below.