Some bad news regarding credit cards…

18 Jul

Price Hike for Plastic For years, retailers had to pay a fee to Visa and MasterCard when shoppers used those cards. But merchants technically weren’t allowed to pass along that surcharge to customers. Until now.

Thanks to a recent settlement between merchants and the two big card companies, if you charge, say, $100 at the grocery store the store could tack on an extra $2.50.

A judge still has to approve the settlement, and it won’t take effect until fall at the earliest—but it’s a cue to put on your smart shopper cap.

The last thing you want is the ATM effect all over again. You swore you’d never pay those pesky out-of-network ATM fees, remember?

But then you did. The lure of convenience (and habit) was too great. So the name of the game is fee management. Some ideas:

 

Consider using cash or debit, especially for smaller purchases (debit cards won’t incur these fees, even if they have the Visa or MasterCard logo).
Use credit for bigger purchases, and be super-organized when you shop—to minimize multiple trips.
Use a card that gives you enough perks to mitigate the fee.
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