The best way to avoid paying unnecessary credit card fees is by not using credit at all. This can be difficult, however, as credit cards are required to rent cars or book hotel rooms in many locations, and they will also help establish an person's credit rating. The best strategy other than not using credit cards at all is to pay off the full balance each month and not use credit cards as credit facilities. Only use them when absolutely necessary or when no other payment method is accepted.

There are many cards that offer no annual fee. Choosing a card that offers no annual fee will reduce costs. Most credit cards charge higher interest on cash advances and may add ATM charges as well. Never taking cash advances on a credit card will significantly reduce costs.

Credit card companies are allowed to charge additional fees if borrowers allow a credit card's balance to exceed its credit limit. The first time a credit card balance exceeds its credit limit, a company may charge a $25 fee; for subsequent occurrences within a six-month period, the company can charge $35. These fees must never exceed the amount by which the account is above the credit limit. Consumers must allow their credit card company to charge this fee in writing and can revoke their approval at any time.

Credit cards typically offer annual interest rates in the range of 11.99% to 22.99%. If a balance must be carried from month to month it may be possible to take advantage of introductory rates, which are sometimes as low as 0% for several months. Otherwise, shop for credit cards that offer the lowest interest rate possible.

Some credit cars offer insurance that purports to make payments on behalf of card holders in the event that they become ill or injured and cannot work. Insurance plans like this may cost about 1% of a card's balance each month. Declining offered add-on insurance by credit card companies is advisable and a good way to minimize unnecessary credit card fees.

In 2012 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered Capital One and Discover to repay hundreds of millions of dollars for deceptively selling add-on services that consumers believed were free, withholding eligibility requirements for benefits from consumers and enrolling consumers in programs without their consent. The bureau also punished the companies with tens of millions of dollars in penalties. Shortly after this action was taken by the CFPB, Bank of America stopped selling add-on services, as did American Express.

The CFPB was brought into existence in 2010 by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The organization was conceived by Elizabeth Warren, a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and former Harvard Law School professor.

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