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Nalzaro: Credit cards’ ‘hidden charges’

saksi

I have two credit cards. One with CitiBank, a Visa, and a Mastercard. I have had these cards for over two decades. Although a few years ago, I never used these cards in any transaction after the bank where our company’s payroll account is deposited changed our ATM cards to debit cards. It’s good because there is an automatic deduction in our bank deposit where we can easily monitor our balance in our account.

The biggest advantage of debit cards over credit cards is that you don’t need to worry about interest rates, monthly finance charges and annual membership payment. Since a debit card uses only the money you actually have. You won’t build an unmanageable debt by using it as you might with unchecked use of a credit card.

Two months ago, I paid my Mastercard outstanding balance in full. Last Aug. 14, the bank issued me a computer-generated certificate, certifying that I had fully paid my account. I thought I would never receive any billing statement at all. But the other day, I was shocked because I received a billing statement dated Sept. 12 that billed me the amount of P1,374 for “miscellaneous fee debit.” I called the bank’s hotline, but the person who answered could not categorically explain my query. He just said, “Just ignore the billing statement.”

Ignore? Okay. But how come this happened? I need an explanation. Is this also happening to other cardholders? What if in the future the bank will send another billing statement charging me with that unexplained “miscellaneous fee debit,” and the charges would increase in every billing? I hope that the bank is not imposing “unexplained and hidden charges” to its credit cardholders.

I am not saying that this is a scam or a fraud initiated by the bank. I just want to be clarified and for the benefit also of the other cardholders who experienced the same. I know that this did not only happen to me. Don’t tell me that had I not complained, the bank would continuously send me billing statements in the future charging me for the things that they cannot even explain?

Using credit cards for purchases is a great way to help build a positive credit history while potentially earning rewards on what you spend. Credit card promotions that offer low interest rates can be quite tempting, but unless you read the fine print, you could be hit by hidden fees or unexpected rate increases.

We have been hearing of unauthorized charges. This is not to mention the various schemes on credit card scams and frauds. Credit card fraud is a wide-raging term for theft and fraud committed using or involving a payment card, such as a credit card or debit card as a fraudulent source of funds in a transaction. There have been so many complaints about credit cards being used by unscrupulous persons and the bank cannot just escape their responsibility in protecting their clients. Last month, several cardholders also complained against another bank because of unauthorized transactions in their credit cards.

There are so many credit card frauds, like card not present transaction, identity theft, application fraud, skimming, checker, phishing, BIN attack, unexpected repeat billing, balance transfer check. The most common is the skimming. This scam occurs when a skimming device designed to illicitly read and store the credit card information is installed on a card reader. They’re usually used in public areas like gas pumps or convenience store ATMs. While phishing refers to fraudulent emails sent to extract sensitive personal information such as social security numbers or payment details.

So, credit cardholders, be careful. Always verify with your banks about any “unexplained and hidden” charges. Unsaon man gud nga nabuhi man ta sa utang. Bisan tikasan ta aw, okey ra. Pagkatoytoy!


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