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How to stop mystery credit card fees

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When you’re activating a new credit card, watch for “the pitch.”

When you call to activate a new credit card, you may be routed to representatives who try to sell you things like “credit protection” or “identity monitoring” to add to your account. These services, or “add-on products,” are additional, optional services that will cost you money. You don’t have to buy anything extra from the credit card company to activate your credit card. In some cases, the sales tactics may be high-pressure and confusing.

Some things to ask yourself when you’re deciding whether you want add-on products:

  • Do you have enough information about the service to buy it?
  • Is the cost worth the possible benefit?
  • Do you understand whether you’d be eligible for the benefits of the service?
When you’re checking your monthly statement, watch for unfamiliar terms or fees.

Even if you don’t recall signing up to buy an extra service, be vigilant about checking your credit card statement for anything unfamiliar, including “add-on,” optional, fee-based products.

If you want to cancel these services

Call your credit card provider by using the number on the back of your card and ask to cancel them. You are not required to buy these optional services from your credit card provider.

What to do if this happens to you

If you find unfamiliar fees on your credit card statement, here’s what you should do:

  • Call your credit card company using the phone number on the back of your card to try to resolve the problem. Tell the card company if you did not authorize the charge.
  • Tell your story so that we can track what’s happening in the marketplace
  • If you’re unable to resolve the issue, file a complaint with the CFPB
  • Ask CFPB if you have more questions about credit cards.

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