A credit card is a plastic card issued by financial institutions such as banks, NBFCs and credit unions, that allows cardholders to borrow funds up to a predetermined limit based on creditworthiness of a borrower. The cardholder can use the credit card for online purchases and withdraw money within a certain limit.
Credit card is widely used for various purpose like online transactions, including retail purchases, shopping and bills etc. Credit cards come with a certain limit which is also called line of credit. Whatever a borrower spend through the credit card can repay the borrowed amount in full by the due date to avoid interest charges. These cards come with additional features such as rewards point on various types of spend such as online shopping, utility bills and travel etc.
It’s important to note that the use of credit cards involves a financial responsibility, and mismanagement can lead to debt accumulation and financial difficulties. Responsible use of credit cards involves making timely payments, staying within the credit limit, and being aware of the terms and conditions associated with the card. Here are some hidden costs of credit cards.
- Annual Fees:
There are different types of credit cards in the Indian market while some of the credit cards do not charge annual fee even some credit cards providers charge annual fee for their premium services and reward points but it’s crucial to consider whether the benefits outweigh the annual fee, especially for those who may not utilize the card frequently.
- Interest Rates:
One of the most significant hidden costs associated with credit cards is the interest charged on outstanding balances. Credit card companies often advertise low introductory interest rates that can skyrocket after a certain period, catching many consumers off guard. Failing to pay off the full balance each month can result in substantial interest charges, significantly impacting the overall cost of using credit.
- Foreign Transaction Fees:
For those who travel internationally, using credit or debit cards abroad may come with additional costs. Foreign transaction fees, which are charged for purchases made in a currency other than the card’s native currency, can range from 1% to 3% of the transaction amount. This hidden cost can add up quickly for frequent travelers, making it important to consider alternative payment methods when abroad.
- Late Payment Fees:
Missed payments on credit card balances can result in late payment fees, adding to the overall cost of using credit. These fees are not only a financial burden but can also negatively impact credit scores, affecting future borrowing capabilities. Being aware of due dates and setting up automatic payments can help consumers avoid unnecessary late fees.
- Overdraft Fees:
Debit card users may face overdraft fees if they spend more than the available funds in their linked bank account. While this is a consequence of overspending, the fees associated with overdrafts can be steep and contribute to financial strain. Monitoring account balances and setting up alerts for low balances can help prevent overdraft fees.
- Cash Advance Fees:
Using credit cards to obtain cash advances is a costly decision. Credit card companies often charge high fees for cash advances, in addition to higher interest rates that begin accruing immediately. Consumers should be cautious about resorting to cash advances and explore alternative means of obtaining cash to avoid these hidden costs. Credit card can be used to get credit card loan and pay the borrowed money on instalment.
A credit card is a useful financial tool that comes with lots of benefits. You must know the smart ways to use the credit card to get the maximum benefits. While credit and debit cards offer undeniable convenience, consumers must be aware of the hidden costs associated with their use. Annual fees, interest rates, foreign transaction fees, late payment fees, overdraft fees, and cash advance fees can accumulate, significantly impacting the overall cost of using cards. Being informed about these hidden costs empowers consumers to make more financially savvy choices, ultimately maximizing the benefits of these ubiquitous financial tools while minimizing the impact on their wallets.