If you thought so called “junk fees” or “garbage fees” that come with mortgage orginations are a pain in your wallet, wait until you get a load of “grey charges” that come with credit and debit cards.
They are really scary.
Like the “garbage fees” that come with mortgages, grey charges are largely legit, but they are more insidious, buried in the small print, hidden in the payment options and tucked away inside disclosure documents.
They are everywhere. One in four consumers gets mugged by grey charges.
The charges are bait-and-switch blades that cut into your cash, zombie subscriptions eating into your discretionary income, robo-renewals that roll you for money and creeping costs that nickel-and-dime you for hundreds of dollars .
Grey charges are small amounts that range from $12 to $18 a hit, but amount to an average $356 per consumer.
Asleep at the wheel
Companies count on you being harried, distracted or just too busy – or lazy – to really read through disclosure documents that include terms and conditions, policy statements and licensing agreements that reveal the charges – or not.
Companies rub their hands together and chuckle at the prospect of you going so far as to actually file a complaint over the fees or the sneaky way they are presented.
You won’t know what hit you until it’s too late – if then. Nine out of 10 consumers either don’t check their bills for charges or only skim over them, looking for large items and not sweating the small stuff.
You can wise up and check your bills regularly, use a credit card vs. a debit card for more protection, take the time to read the fine print or use a service like BillGuard.com to be responsible for you.
Contract out your responsibility
BillGuard.com offers both a limited free service and a higher level fee-based service to keep tabs on your credit and debit card transactions for suspicious and fraudulent costs and it’s pricing terms and conditions are clear and not in small print.
The company is one of the first to get a nod from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Project Catalyst an “initiative designed to encourage consumer-friendly innovation and entrepreneurship in markets for consumer financial products and services.”
Innovation is needed for a similar service to checks dings that show up on mobile phone bills, cable or satellite TV subscriptions and internet service statements.
Mouse over and click the BillGuard.com infographic below.
Infographics, by the way, also are specifically designed for today’s gloss-over world of short attention spans and this one is particularly useful for those who could use a quick kick in the pants to wake them up and get them to smell the posers.