Fee Roundup Survey Interview with WLW Radio Cincinnati
CreditCards.com Senior Industry Analyst Matt Schulz spoke on Thursday, July 16, 2015, with Mike McConnell of WLW Radio Cincinnati about the July 2015 Fee Roundup survey. The interview and transcript are below.
Mike McConnell: Matt Schulz, how are ya?
Matt Schulz: I’m great, how are y’all doing?
McConnell: We’re doing great, thanks for being on. CreditCards.com – Trace and I were talking about this off the air – credit cards, nothing wrong with having a credit card, but man, watch those hidden fees.
Schulz: Yeah, we looked at 100 of the most popular cards that are out there and we found that the average card has about six different potential fees that you could have to pay, but it ranges from as many as 12 fees with a card down to one card that had none.
McConnell: Give me that one card because that is so rare. No fees, not even a yearly fee?
Schulz: Not a yearly fee, not a fee for paying late – it’s definitely unique. It’s the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Promise Visa card.
McConnell: Say that again, let me write that down.
Schulz: Pentagon Federal Credit Union Promise Visa card. So it’s mostly for military folks and their families, but different credit unions have different restrictions as far as that goes.
McConnell: So wait a minute, you have to be in the military. So I was in the Salvation Army, my partner was part of K.I.S.S. army, does that apply?
Schulz: K.I.S.S. army maybe, I’m not sure about the other one.
McConnell: I’m just curious because I’ve never heard of a credit card that doesn’t charge you – is it a high interest rate? How are they making their money?
Schulz: It’s a good question, I’m not entirely sure. It’s not a particularly high interest rate, but it’s interesting to think about just how they would make that money because some many cards that you see out there rely on fees for revenues.
McConnell: How about the most egregious? Who are we looking at, who are the bottom feeders here?
Schulz: Well, the cards with the most both had 12 potential fees and they were both from First Premier Bank. They were the First Premier Bank credit card and the First Premier Bank secured credit card. That bank focuses on folks who are either rebuilding their credit or starting it from scratch so those folks are not going to get the best terms.
McConnell: And that’s understandable, right? If you have a low credit score and you haven’t paid your bills, you should be paying a higher interest rate and more fees.
Schulz: The idea with those is that they’re kind of a stepping stone. You want to get them, pay them on time every time, keep your debt low, and then graduate to a better card pretty quickly after that.
McConnell: We’re talking to Matt Schulz from CreditCards.com and some of these things – I did this several years back with my American Express card – you can negotiate with them, right? As far as a fee goes or some such.
Schulz: Yeah, absolutely.
McConnell: I mean, they’re not going to cut your debt, but if they’re charging you or whatever it is – $35 I think it is for a gold card or whatever that was. And I was like going, “You know what? I don’t want to pay that.” And the guy said, “Alright. Just stay with us.”
Schulz: Yeah, sure. People have more power over those things than they think, especially when it comes to late payment fees. We did a survey awhile back and we found that where very few people have asked to have a late payment fee waived, about 85% of people who asked had their request granted. So those numbers were higher than we thought.
McConnell: But Matt it’s important to get a credit card that kind of helps you out as far as what you’re into. I mean, if you’re taking trips across country to get miles or cash back, right?
Schulz: Yeah, it’s important to know yourself and know what you want to get out of the card. If you’re someone who never flies anywhere and doesn’t want to, you shouldn’t get a miles card. And if you’re somebody who lives in the city and never drives anywhere, there’s no need to mess with a gas card, for example. So it’s all about kind of knowing yourself.
McConnell: We had a guy on awhile back, Matt, and you know, you can’t – this guy really knew his business. And I don’t know, Trace, I said he had 100 cards, it wasn’t that many. But let’s say this fellow had 30, 40, 50 cards and he would just apply for every one of those ads that you were talking about – miles cards – and he would get one of those cards and he would negotiate with them and say, “I don’t want to pay the fee.” Almost every single time, it seems to me, they would say they would. So he’s getting 10,000 miles here, 30,000, 50,000 and he’s flown around the world, honest to god – Trace, what would you say, it’s like a couple hundred bucks or something? It was nothing. So I mean you can do it, but you know what that’s the thing – is your credit score going to be affected and this guy said no.
Schulz: No, it’s really not as long as you don’t apply for 20 at the same time, it really doesn’t have that much of an impact. It’s really all about making sure that you pay your bills on time every time and keep your debts low and if you do that, you’ll be fine. And that’s kind of the game that a lot of these points junkies play.
McConnell: You know, Matt, I’m looking at all the credit cards, and boy there’s a ton of them out there on the list that you gave us – and I don’t want to bring race into it, but I have a black card. I’m telling you, I would think the black card would be on there. That’s a hell of a card to have. I mean, I really – like a couple of years ago. Do you know Marty Brennaman? Do you know that name by any chance, a broadcast- well, it doesn’t matter.
Schulz: Yeah, absolutely.
McConnell: Yeah, it was his birthday so I bought Marty a star and I used my black card. He was really, really – loved that gift. But the black card is not on your list. Why is that?
Schulz: Well, it wasn’t in the universe of cards that we looked at. We have 100 cards that we track on a weekly basis where we keep looking at their interest rates and how they trend over time. And we’ve nailed it down to the 100 kind of most popular, but we haven’t really kind of included the super high-end ones like the black card with the higher annual fee. Because that would’ve skewed some of this.
McConnell: Yeah, I agree, I’m sorry. That was off-base.
Tracy Jones: You just want to say that you have “it,” right?
McConnell: What were you going to say about Marty? He lost his?
Jones: Marty doesn’t lose things. Thanks Matt.
McConnell: Matt Schulz, we appreciate you talking to us, CreditCards.com.
Schulz: Thank you.
McConnell: Thank you, sir.