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10 Common Credit Card Complaints

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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

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  • 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.

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