Convenience at a price as credit card fees rise

Following last week’s interest rate hikes on credit cards by leading players in the market, more commercial banks revised their interest rates this week and service charges. The Nations Trust Bank this week raised its credit card financial fees by Rs. 100, Account Maintenance fees by Rs. 100, Penalty fees by Rs. 150 and service fees for the SMS service by Rs. 250, which will take effect from May 15, 2012.
The Commercial Bank said its new interest rates on credit cards and hikes in various fees would come into effect from June 1.

The interest rate hikes, however, drew mixed reaction from card users. “I think all of us have to be more careful when using credit cards from now on, as the interest rates have gone up. I thought of limiting my purchases through the credit card at least to some extent, but will not discontinue it. However, I will definitely not apply for another credit card,” said Shanaka Premaratne, a cardholder of a local bank.

Thamara Darshini, who is using credit cards of a local and an international bank, said that, since interest rate fluctuations are unavoidable, it is up to the consumers to use these payment methods wisely and effectively. She said that as credit cards are a tremendous convenience, consumers will continue to use them, irrespective of the increased interest rates.

Cardholder Thisara Wijerathne said that these increased interest rate charges are unavoidable, while, consumers are compelled to use credit cards for convenience and hence, will pay the enhanced charges. “We can’t help but pay and pray that next year the interest rates will be reduced,” he said.

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