Credit Cards

Do You Really Know What Credit Card Fees You Are Paying?

credit card fees and charges singapore

Jeff Cuellar

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Let’s be honest – most of you probably have no idea how many credit card charges and fees there are to pay. I don’t blame you, after all, who wants to read all of the fine print on the credit card agreement anyway?

All you really need to know is that there’s usually an annual fee to pay and you’ve got interest to pay on any credit card balance(s) you carry. After all, those are the only fees that matter right?

Wrong!

Unfortunately, there are more credit card fees that you realise. Of course, most people don’t know that until after they’ve check their credit card paper statements (yeah, there’s probably a charge for that too) to see the charges for themselves.

Here are some of the most common credit card charges and fees you can expect to pay:

 

Basic Credit Card Account Fees

Basic credit card account fees are charges that every account holder has to pay, regardless of how often they use the card or not. Typically, these fees are better known because these are often “up front” fees that you must pay to use the credit card.

Basic credit card fees include:

Application/Admin/Processing Fee

Some credit card issuers will charge an “application/admin/processing fee” whenever you sign up. Most credit cards issuers won’t charge such a fee, but the ones that do usually charge either a nominal amount ($10+) or a larger fee ($99+) if they’re offering “free” gifts such as luggage or an electronic device when you apply.

Fee Amount: $10 – $99+

One-time or Recurring Fee: One-time

 

Annual Fee

This is the credit card fee that most credit card users are familiar with – the annual fee. The annual fee can vary by credit card issuer as some have absolutely no annual fee while others have annual fees that are $300 or more!  Typically, higher credit card fees are associated with “premium” credit card that offer multiple benefits and rewards such as air miles, membership, discounts and free perks.

Fee Amount: $0 – $300+

One-time or Recurring Fee: Recurring (Annual)

 *Note: Many credit card issuers offer “fee waivers” for 1 to 2 years for new applicants.

 

Programme Fee

The programme fee is another “up front” fee you’ll need to pay to take part in certain programmes – particularly a credit card issuer’s “Air Miles” programme. Credit card issuers that offer such programmes usually require you to already be enrolled in a participating airlines’ frequent flyer or travel rewards programme.

Fee Amount: $40+

One-time or Recurring Fee: Recurring (Annual)

 

Credit Card Usage Fees

Credit card usage fees can either be fixed or variable – depending on the type of transaction you’re using your credit card for and how much you’re charging on it. These fees have the potential to balloon your credit card statement if you’re not careful (especially while on holiday).

Credit card usage fees include:

Foreign Transaction Fee

This is a fee that’s charged for any transactions that are processed outside of Singapore, whether you’re in an overseas location on holiday or you’re purchasing an item online from a retailer abroad. The fee is comprised of a currency conversion fee (usually 1%) and an administrative fee (up to 2%), which adds a 3%+ on top of whatever the prevailing foreign exchange rate is!

Fee Amount:
2.5% – 3% (On Top of Prevailing Foreign Exchange Rate)

One-time or Recurring Fee: Recurring (Usage)

 

Balance Transfer Fee

Balance transfers are typically used when a credit card user wants to transfer the balance of one or more credit cards to another credit card with either a low interest rate or a 0% interest over a 6 to 12 month period. Of course, balance transfers usually come with a “processing/administrative fee” that’s a percentage of the balance being transferred – which can add up to hundreds on a large transfer.

Fee Amount: 2% – 4%+ of the Balance Transferred

One-time or Recurring Fee: One-time

 

Cash Advance Fee

Some credit cards allow you access your credit line by enabling you to withdraw cash from ATM machines. Of course, if you want to use this privilege, you’ll have to pay a pretty a transaction fee as well as daily interest charges on any outstanding cash advance balance. Some credit cards have minimum/maximum withdrawal amounts (ex. $200min/$3,000max).

Fee Amount: 6%+ of the Transaction Amount or $15+ (Whichever is higher) Plus 2%+ (24%+ p.a.) Daily Finance Charges on Unpaid Withdrawn Balance

One-Time or Recurring Fee: Recurring (Usage)

 

Rewards Points to Miles Conversion Fee

Some credit card issuers with multiple benefits give you the option to “convert” your membership rewards points to air miles (ex. 1 Rewards Point = 2 Air Miles). However, some credit card issuers will charge you a “conversion fee” for this privilege.

Fee Amount: $15+ per conversion

One-time or Recurring Fee: Recurring (Usage)

 

What do you think is the most dangerous credit card fee out there? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook! For even more useful information on everything personal finance, visit MoneySmart today!

 

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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.

  • jermyn wee

    I have never been charged a processing fee before leh