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Good Reason to Look at Your Credit Card Statement

October 5, 2014
Plain English Version

credit-card-debt-1

Banks are always looking for ways to make more money. When people get new credit cards, some banks add fees without telling the customer. You should check your statements for charges. Keep an eye out for services you did not order.

For example, some banks have added identity-theft protection to new cards they issue. The trouble is, they do not tell the customer about it. It is a service the customer may not have asked for and may not want.

Today, customer-service call centers and banks are working actively to get more people signed up.

The government recently fined U.S. Bancorp, Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase for the practice. It said that customers were signed up without their consent. To make it worse, they sometimes did not get the promised service.

The hacking of big retailers and banks makes for more interest in identity-theft. Consumers are worried that their credit card information has been stolen.

Credit monitoring services are supposed to warn consumers of signs of fraudulent activity on their cards.

If you see new charges in your statement make sure you have agreed to them. If you did not, go over older statements and look for them. Contact your bank and ask for a refund. If you are not satisfied, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and file a complaint.

The protection services usually cost about $10 to $30 a month. Experts say they do not actually protect against identity theft. Even if you do not use your credit card you will have to pay for the service. And you may have to pay a late fee.

There are some free services. Credit-card companies will warn you if you have charges over a certain amount. You decide the amount. You can also get a free report every year from the three big credit-reporting firms.

Source: The Wall Street Journal September 25, 2014

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