Home > Credit Cards > 10 Common Credit Card Complaints

Comments 12 Comments

Credit cards are not terribly complex products, but they can be terribly misunderstood. Although many cardholders are satisfied with their cards, some customers report endless frustration.

Here are ten of the most common credit card complaints we hear from readers, and some simple suggestions to avoid these issues.

1. I have to pay an annual fee.

There may have been a time when most credit cards did not charge an annual fee, but that hasn’t been the case recently. Nevertheless, some cardholders who still expect to use a card without an annual fee are are upset when they are charged one.

Solution: There are still plenty of ways to avoid annual fees or to find a card without one.

2. My bank added foreign transaction fees when I was abroad.

Few things are as frustrating as paying your bank a foreign transaction fee, when your rewards card should be paying you.

Solution: First, try calling your bank and asking for the fee to be waived. That might work once or twice, but in the long term, you should find a card without these fees.

3. My interest rate is too high.

Credit card purchases represent unsecured debt, and they have higher interest rates than car loans or home mortgages. In fact, most credit cards have interest rates between 10% and 20% APR, which accumulates very quickly.

Solution: For those with good credit, there are plenty of low-interest rate cards available. Otherwise, there are still many ways to have your bank cut your interest rate.

4. My application was rejected.

It is always hard to take rejection, especially when a bank unexpectedly denies your credit card application.

Solution: Few people realize that the bank’s first decision is not final, and they can ask to be reconsidered.

5. I can’t redeem my rewards.

Figuring out some credit card reward programs can be nearly as confusing as deciphering the federal tax code. Worse, many programs have been devalued in the past year.

Solution: There are two ways to go here. One is to spend some time learning about your credit card programs in order to earn the most valuable rewards. The other is to give up on complicated loyalty programs and switch to a simple cash back card.

6. It’s hard to get through to customer service.

There are several reasons why cardholders would need to contact their bank, but few things are more aggravating than being put on hold forever.

Solution: You may find faster service by composing a secure message through your bank’s website. But if you are still not satisfied with your bank’s customer service, find another bank or join a credit union. These days, many credit cards are advertising fast access to customer service representatives.

7. I’ll never be able to pay off my credit card debt.

Too many credit card users get tangled up in a web of debt that can seem unrelenting.

Solution: One of the best tools to reduce debt are cards with 0% APR balance transfer offers. But if that doesn’t work, it may be best to take a break from credit cards and look at some of the latest prepaid cards.

8. There are fraudulent charges on my bill.

Credit cards are great for most users, but they can also be highly valued by those who would commit fraud.

Solution: Federal laws require that banks investigate and remove fraudulent charges, but you have to spot them. Taking the time to examine each statement, and spotting any errors or fraud, is the price we must pay to enjoy the convenience and security of these products.

9. I got hit with a late fee.

Late fees are a great source of profit for credit card issuers, but a huge waste of money for cardholders.

Solution: Always contact your bank and ask to have the late fee removed. You might also consider a card with no late fees, but just don’t use that as an excuse to pay late.

10. I get too many offers in the mail.

For all of our complaints about credit cards, it is still a highly competitive market. So competitive that many of us find offers for new credit cards in our mailboxes nearly every day.

Solution: Contact the three major credit bureaus and ask to have your name removed from pre-approved offers. Visit www.optoutprescreen.com or call 1-888-5OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688).

Image: iStockphoto

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • Pingback: Monday's need-to-know money news()

  • Pingback: I Use Credit Card Rewards to Pay for Everything ← WORLD NEWS()

  • Pingback: Will Credit Cards Replace Lunch Money?()

  • SkurferJef

    Good article and some valid concerns. Disputes do happen though and it’s important to be careful who you pick to do business with. While traveling recently a tea house in China overcharged my card by $2,497, it’s a known scam yet #Chase and #Visa never questioned or alerted me to the charge while Visa continues to allow them to accept charge cards, unbelievable. I appealed with my receipt yet they are hounding me to pay. MasterCard is much easier to work with. Pick wisely and read reviews first.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      I agree with you that there doesn’t seem to be adequate policing of some unscrupulous merchants overseas. We had another reader who was ripped off on a Turkish rug and an internet search turned up lots and lots of complaints. Maybe another topic we need to cover!

  • larry kirkpatrick

    what about an article on why some banks wont let you start a savings account when you have no credit history.you could have a million dollars to put in savings account and be turned down.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Larry – I assume this happened to you? It sounds unusual to me. I know may financial institutions check Chexsystems or Telecheck and something negative there can make it difficult to open a new account, but I haven’t heard of someone not being able to open a new savings account due to lack of a credit history. Can you share more information? Was this a small bank or large one? What did they tell you?

      • larry kirkpatrick

        my money was in local texas bank at the time.

      • larry kirkpatrick

        my money was in local texas bank at the time.

        • Gerri Detweiler

          What ended up happening? Did you take your business elsewhere?

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Good example! Thanks Deb.

  • For the Love of God

    Have a question that I have not been able to find the answers to. Had heard somewhere that credit card companies cannot charge interest on interest, late fees, and other fees, and would like to know if this is true.

    Also, if it is true they cannot, why do they not separate the aforementioned into another category separate from your balance so you can tell if they are charging interest on these things.

    Don’t know if you need to know my state, but I live in California.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Most credit card companies charge interest on the average daily balance which may include fees. I am not aware of exclusions for those items. Here is an example from one card issuer’s agreement:

      We begin to impose interest charges on a transaction, fee or interest charge from the day we add it to the daily balance. We continue to impose interest charges until you pay the total amount you owe us. You can avoid paying interest on Purchases as described below. However, you cannot avoid paying interest on Balance Transfers or Cash Advances.

      • For the Love of God

        Thank you for replying to my question, just got to thinking about this because there are certain things where interest cannot be charged on interest or fees, like on Association dues or unpaid money judgements, and such (I am in Property Management), so kind of odd that credit card companies are allowed to do this.

        • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

          You’re most welcome.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team