2 Ways Your Credit Card Can Spend Money Without Your Knowledge (And Neither of Them Is Fraud!
Everybody knows that shopping around for the lowest fees and interest rates is key to managing your credit card spending. But if you really examine your credit card statement, you may discover an even bigger drain on your wallet: automatic renewals of subscriptions you had forgotten all about, and small purchases that have added up to an amount younever would have spent all at once.
You paid to join a job-listing site but forgot to cancel your membership once you landed a job. Maybe you had a paid subscription to a photo-sharing site and forgot to cancel it once Facebook and Instagram revolutionized the way we share photos. Or maybe you’ve been paying for antivirus protection on a computer that won’t even turn on anymore. One of the main benefits of automatic renewals (for the sellers, that is) is that people forget all about them and keep paying for the subscriptions long after they no longer need them. Check your credit card statement to see if you’re being charged for any of these forgotten automatic renewals:
Memberships to photo-sharing sites
Firewall/antivirus protection for computers you don’t use anymore
Memberships to sites you don’t use anymore (Weight Watchers, The Grocery Game, etc.)
Subscriptions to news outlets
Premium tiers of free sites (like Amazon Prime)
Zoo or museum memberships
Web hosting for a blog you no longer post on
Data plan for a broken iPad (or one that you only use where there’s a wireless connection)
An Xbox Live membership you never use
Memberships to newsletters and blogs you never read
If you find any forgotten automatic renewals, cancel them immediately. That may be hard to do online if you’ve forgotten login information or changed email addresses. In that case, call the customer service number so they can verify your identity and help you with cancellation. If you run into trouble, canceling the credit card is always an option, although that should be your last resort.
Small purchases that add up to a big, “Ouch!”
The old saying about being “dollared and dimed to death” has never been so true. Between games and books, it’s easy to spend more than you realize. You may think you’d never spend $100 per month on games, but you can get there before you know it if you’re doing it one game at a time. The same is true for books, music, and other apps. And those in-app purchases can really get you in trouble. Get out a calculator and figure out how much money you spent because you couldn’t wait a day to earn more lives.
Speaking of in-app purchases – make sure your kids’ devices have the in-app purchase option turned off. Young children struggle with the concept of money anyway, and they really have a tough time seeing the difference between “real money” and “game money.” Many parents have been shocked to discover a $200 credit card charge for Smurf berries. Don’t let that happen to you!
Automatic renewals and small purchases can rack up hundreds of dollars a month. To whittle that bill down, check your credit card statement for forgotten subscriptions. And stop telling yourself, “It’s just $.99.” Those “little” purchases can leave you with a very big bill. Making sure you know what’s on your statement and why it’s there can be a big step toward managing your debt.
Related:Keep Your Money Safe – Tips for Safer Online Banking