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Some Tips for Getting a Fee-Free Credit Card

By: Bonnie Conrad

Some Tips for Getting a Fee-Free Credit Card

Credit cards are expensive enough without lumping an annual fee on top of them. If your current credit card carries a hefty annual fee, chances are good that you can find a similar card that does not have that extra financial burden. While many credit cards do come with steep annual fees, there are many free-free alternatives out there as well. The key to getting one of those free cards is to do your homework and research those free options.

Know Where You Stand

Obtain a free copy of your credit report from a reputable source like AnnualCreditReport.com. Watch out for scam sites that promise a free copy of your credit report but then sign you up for expensive credit monitoring and other services.

Review your credit report carefully and take note of any errors. Follow the instructions provided by the credit bureau to dispute any inaccurate or outdated information on your credit report. For best results, check your credit report with all three major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. You are entitled to a free copy of all three reports once a year.

Check the Cards Your Currently Own

Review the terms and conditions of your current credit card to determine whether or not you are paying an annual fee. Information and disclosures about the card and its fees are typically included in your monthly statement, and in mailings you receive from the card issuer.

Look for a Better Deal

Call the bank that issued your current credit card if you have one. Ask the representative who answers the phone if they can offer you a card with no annual fee. Most banks offer more than one credit card product, and they may be able to move you to a fee-free card. For instance, many airline-affiliated credit cards charge an annual fee, but those same card issuers sometimes offer a fee-free alternative that still allows you to earn airline miles.

Watch your mail for credit card offers. Open each offer you receive and turn to the terms and conditions section. Look at the annual fee section and be sure the card is fee-free before applying.

Contact several credit unions in your area. Credit unions are owned by their members, and they often offer better deals on their consumer products, including fee-free credit cards.

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Shred old credit card receipts. You can purchase an inexpensive paper shredder at an office supply store. All old receipts with your credit card number and any unneeded documents with your social insurance number or other sensitive personal information should be shredded before disposal. This prevents the common practice of criminals going through the trash to find receipts and stealing your identity

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