When it comes to your budget, a surprise is rarely a good thing. It usually means you didn’t anticipate something, like hidden fees.
Buried within the fine print, hidden financial fees can come out of the blue when you (and your budget) least expect them.
Despite their name, hidden fees are common, so they may feel they’re the normal, although frustrating, cost of holding an account with some financial institutions. But knowledge is power — knowing when and why some financial institutions apply these fees can help you avoid them.
Draw Fees on a Line of Credit
Unless you score the deal of a lifetime with a line of credit with 0% APR, you can expect to pay some fees when you use this account. Interest is the normal cost of borrowing with most lines of credit.
However, some borrowers are surprised to see draw fees applied to their billing statements. This is a charge applied by some lenders when you access your approved line of credit, which hardly seems fair if you’re already paying interest on your withdrawal.
Luckily, you can avoid this by shopping around for another line of credit. A lender like Fora sticks to the basics —that is, you only pay interest on the amount you use. You can see that the online loans from Fora have no hidden fees, including annual, draw, late, or origination fees.
A big part of your financial health relies on making informed decisions when borrowing. Read the terms and conditions of a line of credit before you apply so that you know what you’re getting into. Better yet, compare the rates and terms of multiple lenders.
Credit Card Surcharges
If you live in Canada, you might see a credit card surcharge added to your bill — whether you’re at the grocery store, local diner, or hardware store.
Restrictions on surcharges were lifted back in 2022. Since then, businesses can add as much as 2.4 percent on every sale to offset the merchant fees they pay for credit card processing.
Not every business will apply the charge, but some do. You can easily avoid it simply by asking about a business’ policy at checkout. If they add surcharges to your bill, you can pay with debit or cash to save a bit of money.
Monthly Bank Fee
A monthly banking fee is one of the most annoying and common charges. Many of the biggest banks apply a monthly maintenance fee for the privilege of holding an account with them. How much you pay depends on your account, the perks that come with it, and your bank.
Your choice of bank is the biggest indicator of whether you’ll face monthly fees. While the big-named retail banks almost always apply these charges, challenger banks (also known as neobanks or online-only banks) offer no-fee chequing accounts.
Like a line of credit with no hidden fees, a no-fee chequing account requires some homework. You’ll have to go search online for challenger banks that don’t get around fees by applying balance minimums or withdrawal holds.
If you’ve been stung by hidden fees before, it’s time to advocate for yourself. Start asking questions and investigating your options. Shopping around before committing to these accounts and financial products can help you avoid overpaying for the basics.
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