Paper statement fees?! Credit card issuers’ latest trick
By Consumers Union on Thursday, January 7th, 2010
From Guest Blogger: Suzanne Martindale
As consumers brace for the additional protections of the CreditCARD Act to go into effect on February 22, credit card issuers are finding more and more inventive ways to squeeze extra money out of their customers. This time, the joke is on consumers who use credit cards affiliated with retail stores.
A new trend has recently emerged with retail credit cards, from stores like Victoria’s Secret and Ann Taylor: the $1 “paper statement fee.” Customers who use these cards are now being charged a $1 fee each time they receive a paper billing statement, and can only avoid the fee by opting to receive electronic statements. One major bank that issues retail credit cards claims that the fee is necessary because of increased “paper costs” caused by the enhanced disclosure requirements for billing statements starting February 22.
But consumers are not fooled. This unprecedented fee for paper billing statements is just the latest in a string of tricks that issuers are using to maximize fees and evade the new credit card rules. Beyond that, it simply defies logic. As one consumer put it to the press this week, “In this economy, how can a store charge to send a bill?”
With these new paper statement fees cropping up, many consumers may choose to opt into electronic statements. For those consumers who do, remember: it will be very important for you to monitor your account activity online in order to catch fraud or unauthorized transactions!
Do you have a retail credit card, or another type of plastic card, that now charges a fee for paper billing statements? If so, tell us about it in the comments.