When It Comes to Fees, These Credit Cards Are the Worst
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When It Comes to Fees, These Credit Cards Are the Worst

Discover the pros and cons of credit cards that help you build credit.
istockphoto
By Beth Braverman

Two credit cards from First Premier Bank have the most fees of 100 cards researched for a CreditCards.com report released today.

The average number of fees per credit card analyzed was six, but the First Premier Bank Credit Card and the First Premier Bank Secured MasterCard carry 12 potential fees each. The PenFed Promise Visa Card was the only one in the survey that levied no fees at all.

A quarter of the cards surveyed charged an annual fee, although 10 percent waived that fee for a consumers’ first year. All cards except for the PenFed Promise Visa Card charged a late payment fee, which can run up to $25.

Related: What to Know Before Your Teen Gets a Credit Card

Penalty fees tend to be easier for consumers to avoid (don’t make late payments), and it’s worth shopping around for cards that don’t have fees for the transactions you need.

Most cards carry a cash advance fee, typically the greater of either $10 or 5 percent of each cash advance.  Among cards that allow balance transfers, 90 percent charge a fee for doing so, typically $5 or 3 percent of the transfer.

Another common fee was the foreign transaction fee, typically about 3 percent per transaction, charged by 77 percent of cards. “If you travel internationally a lot, a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees is a great value,” CreditCards.com senior industry analyst Matt Schulz said in a statement. 

If you’re hit with an unexpected, one-time fee, try calling your issuer and asking them for a refund. Often customer service reps are authorized to do so on a case-by-case basis.

MOST POTENTIAL FEES

  • First Premier Bank Credit Card (12)
  • First Premier Bank Secured MasterCard (12)
  • Credit One Visa Platinum (9)
  • Fifth Third Bank Platinum MasterCard (9)
  • Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum (9)
  • Navy Federal Credit Union Cash Rewards (9)
  • Regions Visa Platinum Rewards (9)

FEWEST POTENTIAL FEES

  • PenFed Promise Visa Card (0)
  • ExxonMobil SmartCard from Citi (3)
  • Spark Classic from Capital One (3)
  • Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business (3)
  • Spark Miles Select by Capital One (3)

Share Buybacks Soar to Record $1 Trillion

istockphoto
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Although there may be plenty of things in the GOP tax bill to complain about, critics can’t say it didn’t work – at least as far as stock buybacks go. TrimTabs Investment Research said Monday that U.S. companies have now announced $1 trillion in share buybacks in 2018, surpassing the record of $781 billion set in 2015. "It's no coincidence," said TrimTabs' David Santschi. "A lot of the buybacks are because of the tax law. Companies have more cash to pump up the stock price."

Chart of the Day: Deficits Rising

By The Fiscal Times Staff

Budget deficits normally rise during recessions and fall when the economy is growing, but that’s not the case today. Deficits are rising sharply despite robust economic growth, increasing from $666 billion in 2017 to an estimated $970 billion in 2019, with $1 trillion annual deficits expected for years after that.

As the deficit hawks at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget point out in a blog post Thursday, “the deficit has never been this high when the economy was this strong … And never in modern U.S. history have deficits been so high outside of a war or recession (or their aftermath).” The chart above shows just how unusual the current deficit path is when measured as a percentage of GDP.

4.2 Million Uninsured People Could Get Free Obamacare Plans

FILE PHOTO: A sign on an insurance store advertises Obamacare in San Ysidro
Mike Blake
By Michael Rainey

About 4.2 million uninsured people could sign up for a bronze-level Obamacare health plan and pay nothing for it after tax credits are applied, the Kaiser Family Foundation said Tuesday. That means that 27 percent of the country’s 15.9 million uninsured people could get covered for free. The chart below breaks down the eligible population by state. 

Takedown of the Day: Ezra Klein on Paul Ryan's Legacy of Debt

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump meets with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on Capitol Hill in Washington
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Vox’s Ezra Klein says that retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan’s legacy can be summed up in one number: $343 billion. “That’s the increase between the deficit for fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2018— that is, the difference between the fiscal year before Ryan became speaker of the House and the fiscal year in which he retired.”

Klein writes that Ryan’s choices while in office — especially the 2017 tax cuts and the $1.3 trillion spending bill he helped pass and the expansion of the earned income tax credit he talked up but never acted on — should be what define his legacy:

“[N]ow, as Ryan prepares to leave Congress, it is clear that his critics were correct and a credulous Washington press corps — including me — that took him at his word was wrong. In the trillions of long-term debt he racked up as speaker, in the anti-poverty proposals he promised but never passed, and in the many lies he told to sell unpopular policies, Ryan proved as much a practitioner of post-truth politics as Donald Trump. …

“Ultimately, Ryan put himself forward as a test of a simple, but important, proposition: Is fiscal responsibility something Republicans believe in or something they simply weaponize against Democrats to win back power so they can pass tax cuts and defense spending? Over the past three years, he provided a clear answer. That is his legacy, and it will haunt his successors.”

Read Klein’s full piece here.