No Annual Fee and No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

No Annual Fee and No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

If you bought something while traveling in a foreign country, you might get charged what’s known as a foreign transaction fee. On top of that cost, you could also pay an annual fee on your credit card, which is essentially a charge just for the privilege of using the card.

Depending on the credit card issuer and the card, there are specific rules around these fees and how much they run. Plus, there are some credit cards with no foreign transaction fees and no annual fees at all.

Opting for a no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee credit card may seem like the obvious choice when selecting a card — and often it is. However, there are some scenarios when avoiding fees won’t be a cardholder’s top priority.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card?

What Are Foreign Transaction Fees and When Are They Applied?

As mentioned, a foreign transaction fee is a charge that you might pay when you make a purchase on your credit card while in a foreign country. For instance, you might get charged a foreign transaction fee when buying a ticket to visit a museum or dining at a restaurant abroad. These fees might also get tacked on when you take out money from an ATM in another country.

You don’t necessarily have to be in a foreign country to get charged a foreign transaction fee though. Sometimes, a foreign transaction fee might kick in if you’re buying something from a company that’s based in a foreign country and that processes the transaction in its local currency. For instance, let’s say you buy a pair of shoes from a retailer based in France. If the purchase is processed in Euros, you might be charged a foreign transaction fee.

A foreign transaction fee is typically based on a percentage of the transaction amount. For instance, if your card charged a 2% foreign transaction and you bought an item that cost $100, the foreign transaction fee would be $2.

Foreign transaction fees are a common credit card fee that will show up on your credit card statement, and they can make your travels more expensive. Let’s say you spend $4,000 on a trip overseas, and your credit card charges a 2% foreign transaction fee. In that case, you’d pay $80 extra to cover the cost of foreign transaction fees.

How Much Are Foreign Transaction Fees?

The amount of foreign transaction fees varies depending on the credit card issuer. That being said, most foreign transaction fees range anywhere from 1% to 3% of the transaction amount. Many cards don’t have a foreign transaction fee.

One thing to note: Foreign transaction fees are different from currency conversion fees. In some cases, you might get hit with a double whammy and be charged both. You could also face a credit card convenience fee, depending on where you use your card.

Foreign Transaction Fees by Credit Card Issuers

Let’s take a look at foreign transaction fees charged by the major credit card issuers. On average, here’s how much they can run, depending on which card you’re using and the issuing bank or credit union:

Credit Card Issuer

Average Foreign Transaction Fee

Visa 0% or 3%
Mastercard 0% or 3%
Discover 0%
American Express 0% to 2.7%

Recommended: How Credit Cards Work

What Are Annual Credit Card Fees and When Are They Applied?

Some cards come with an annual credit card fee. This fee is a yearly charge collected by a credit card issuer in order to use the card. Often, paying an annual credit card fee allows cardholders to tap into special perks and benefits, such as higher credit card points earnings on purchases, extended warranties and price protection, and travel or cash back perks.

The annual credit card fee will turn up on your credit card statement once a year as a single, lump sum charge. Usually you’re charged during the same billing cycle or month in which you initially signed up for the card. Once you pay the annual fee, the next time you’ll get charged is in 12 billing cycles.

You’ll cover a card’s annual fee just like you would any other purchase you put on your card. The fee will show up on your card and get folded into your statement.

How Much Are Annual Fees, Typically?

The amount of an annual fee depends largely on the card, but in general, annual fees can run anywhere from $95 per year to upwards of $500. There are a number of credit cards available that don’t charge an annual fee. And some that do also offer the opportunity to get the fee waived.

Do Cards With No Annual Fees Tend to Also Have No Foreign Transaction Fees?

Whether cards that skip out on charging annual fees will also have no foreign transaction fees really depends. There’s no hard-and-fast rule. In some instances, a card might have an annual fee but no foreign transaction fee. On the flip side, a credit card might have a foreign transaction fee but no annual fee. Or, a card could charge both fees or neither fee.

Before opening an account, it’s important to read the fine print and comb through the terms and fees of a given credit card. This will outline the fees a card might charge as well as the rate of credit card purchase interest charges. That way, you’ll know what you’re getting into with any given card.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

No Annual Fee and No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards: Who They’re Great For

Let’s take a look at when a one-two punch of a credit card with no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee might best benefit you.

Online Shoppers

If you do a lot of your shopping online, particularly through brands that aren’t U.S.-based, you might find a no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee credit card beneficial. That way, if you happen to buy something from a merchant based in a foreign country and credit card processing is done in their local currency, you can save on foreign transaction fees.

Plus, if you have a strong credit score and can snag a card that offers a better-than-average rate of cash-back rewards or points, you might not need to splurge on a card with an annual fee to gain access to added perks.

Recommended: Cash Back Credit Card Study

International Travelers

Foreign transaction fees can rack up quickly if you’re putting purchases on your card while traveling in other countries. For instance, if you spend $5,000 on your credit card while on a trip overseas, and your card charges 3% for foreign transaction fees, that could cost you an additional $150.

To avoid this expenditure, you might be better off looking for a card that doesn’t have foreign transaction fees. You’ll further avoid cuts to your travel budget by skipping out on paying an annual fee.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

No Annual Fee and No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards: Who They’re Bad For

If you fall within one of the following groups, you might not find that it’s worthwhile to focus on finding a credit card with no annual fee and foreign transaction fee.

People Who Want the Most Rewards and Perks

For those looking for the most competitive rewards rate, lucrative travel perks, or a sizable welcome bonus, then a credit card with an annual fee might be their best bet. By taking advantage of these benefits offered by the card, you could still come out ahead even with the annual fee, as the perks can effectively offset the cost of the fee.

Just make sure to do the math ahead of time and ensure you’ll take enough advantage of the available perks before agreeing to a hefty annual fee.

Recommended: Choosing a Rewards Credit Card

Those With Poor or Limited Credit

If you have poor credit or a limited credit history, you might not be faced with the choice of credit card miles vs. cash back when choosing a card. Instead, your options may be pretty limited. For those in this situation, a credit card that charges an annual fee and/or foreign transaction fees may still be their best — or only — available option.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Tips for Save on Credit Card Fees When Traveling Abroad

Hoping to avoid credit card fees while you’re out of the country? Here are some pointers to keep in mind:

•   Ask about fees ahead of time. If you’re not sure which of your credit cards does or does not charge foreign transaction fees, it can pay to ask ahead of time. Then, you can opt to avoid using a card with a hefty rate for foreign transaction fees while you’re traveling. Even if you can’t avoid these fees entirely due to the credit cards you have, you’ll at least avoid a surprise when you get home from your trip and be able to spend more strategically.

•   Consider getting a no foreign transaction fee credit card. If you have the time ahead of your trip, can weather a dip in your credit, and are in the market for a new card, then getting a credit card with no foreign transaction fees — like the SoFi Credit Card — can make sense. This is especially true if you have a number of trips abroad planned for the future.

•   Exchange cash before leaving the country. Another way to dodge fees while traveling is to exchange U.S. dollars for the local currency in the country you’re visiting before you leave. This will allow you to avoid potentially costly trips to the ATM and added fees when swiping your credit card. Just make sure to take safety into consideration before taking out a huge amount of cash.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card?

The Takeaway

A no annual fee no foreign transaction fee credit card can save you money — especially if it comes with its own set of perks that you don’t have to pay extra for. Plus, you don’t have to keep as close an eye on your spending abroad so you can better kick back and enjoy the sights.

If you’re shopping around for a credit card, the SoFi credit card is an option with no foreign transaction fees. Plus, you can earn competitive cash-back rewards.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

What does it mean when a credit card has no foreign transaction fees?

A credit card with no foreign transaction fee means that you won’t get dinged with a fee should you make a purchase in a foreign country. Depending on how much you end up spending while traveling, it could save you a significant chunk of change.

Why are no annual fees important?

A credit card with no annual fee means money you don’t have to spend. Plus, you won’t have to work as hard for the annual fee to pay off. In other words, you won’t have to strategize to make the most of any special perks, nor will you need to worry about spending a certain amount to offset the cost.

Is 3% foreign transaction fee a lot?

A 3% foreign transaction fee is on the high end of average. The rate of foreign transaction fees can vary, but they typically run anywhere from 1% to 3%, with some cards not charging any foreign transaction fees.


Photo credit: iStock/RgStudio

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

SoFi cardholders earn 2% unlimited cash back rewards when redeemed to save, invest, a statement credit, or pay down eligible SoFi debt.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Guide to Paying Property Taxes With a Credit Card

Guide to Paying Property Taxes With a Credit Card

If you’ve become aware of the benefits of earning rewards with your credit card, you may be on the lookout for opportunities to use your card (and earn rewards). Property taxes can be one of the largest expenses for many homeowners, so it makes sense if you’re wondering, ‘can you pay property taxes with a credit card?’

The good news is that many states, counties, and other local jurisdictions do allow you to pay your property taxes with a credit card. However, in many cases, there is a processing fee associated with a credit card payment. Depending on the fee that’s charged and the card that you use, paying your property taxes with a credit card may or may not be a good idea.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due?

Can You Pay Property Taxes With a Credit Card?

Many states and counties allow you to pay property taxes with a credit card. In some cases, they process any payments directly. Other jurisdictions may partner with a third-party processing company to handle payments.

In many cases, a processing fee will apply. This fee is generally around 2% of the payment or higher. For example, Hamilton County in Ohio charges a 2.35% fee for credit card payments, while Cook County in Illinois charges a fee of 2.10%.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

Pros and Cons of Paying Property Taxes With a Credit Card

For many homeowners, property taxes and mortgage payments are some of the largest expenses in their budget. So it makes sense that you might try to offset some of the cost by earning credit card rewards on the purchase, which could allow you to pay less taxes.

However, there are potential downsides to paying property taxes with a credit card to take into consideration as well. For one, you may pay a processing fee. You also could owe interest charges and experience effects to your credit score, depending on how you manage your credit card bill.

Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of paying property taxes with a credit card:

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Pros

Cons

Can earn credit card rewards Will likely owe a processing fee
May help you meet requirements to earn a signup bonus on a new credit card Could raise credit utilization, which could negatively impact your credit score
Could use a 0% introductory APR offer from a new card or by doing a balance transfer to pay your tax bill over time Can face high interest rates if you don’t pay off your credit card bill in full

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

Paying Your Property Taxes With a Credit Card: 4 Steps

Just like paying your mortgage with a credit card, paying your property taxes with a credit card usually takes a few simple steps. While the exact steps will vary depending on your local tax authority, here is the basic flow.

1. Enter Your Property Tax Information

First, you will enter your property information. Many counties have assigned all property into specific parcel IDs. If you’re not sure about your parcel ID, you can usually look that up with your address or other identifying information.

2. Enter or Confirm Any Required Personal Information

Once you have entered in the required information pertaining to the parcel you’re paying property taxes on, you may be asked to enter or confirm some of your personal information. This helps to ensure that you are paying for the correct piece of real property.

3. Choose Your Payment Method and Amount

Next, you will choose the credit card you want to use. Because most jurisdictions charge a processing fee to pay your property taxes with a credit card, you’ll want to be careful about which card you use.

If you have a rewards credit card with a rewards rate that’s higher than the fee you’re being charged, that may be a good card to use. You might also consider a new card on which you’re attempting to meet the spending requirement to earn a signup bonus. If your card has a high spending requirement, paying your taxes with a credit card can help you fulfill that requirement. If you need more time to pay your bill, you might also consider a card with an introductory 0% annual percentage rate (APR) offer.

Once you’ve decided on your card, you’ll enter it into the tax processing website. Similarly to if you were paying bills with a credit card, you’ll likely need to enter your name as it appears on the card, your full credit card number, the expiration date, and the CVV code.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card?

4. Submit Your Payment

The final step in paying taxes with a credit card is to submit your payment. If a confirmation page is shown, you may want to print it for your records. That can help you in case there’s a dispute about whether your property taxes have been paid. You also may be able to select an email confirmation.

Types of Cards You Can Use to Pay Property Taxes

There are many credit cards that you can potentially use to pay property taxes. Visa and Mastercard are the two most prevalent, but many tax authorities accept American Express, Discover, or other types of credit cards. Check with your local tax authority to see what types of cards you can use in your area.

You may be able to use a debit card as well. While the benefits of credit cards include rewards and other perks, fees are often lower for debit cards than credit cards.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card?

The Takeaway

It’s usually possible to pay property taxes with a credit card, though it depends on the policies and laws in your specific jurisdiction. However, many states and counties charge a processing fee to accept credit card payments for property taxes, and the fees may be higher than the value of any rewards that you may earn. Check with your local tax authority to see what options you have in your specific area.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Which states allow you to pay property tax with a credit card?

Where you can pay property tax with a credit card varies widely depending on a property’s exact location. States, counties, cities, and school districts all may have different laws and policies. If you’re not sure if you are able to pay property tax with a credit card, check with your local taxing authority.

Can you get cash back by paying property tax with your credit card?

Yes, one benefit of credit cards is that you can often earn cash back or other rewards with each purchase. It’s likely possible to earn cash back (or other credit card rewards) by paying property taxes with your credit card. However, in many cases, you will be charged a processing fee by your local taxing authority. Make sure that the value of any rewards you earn exceeds the cost of the fees you may be charged.

Will paying property taxes with a credit card raise your credit score?

Paying property taxes will likely not have a huge impact on your credit score if you pay your statement on time and in full. However, if you pay your taxes with a credit card and then don’t pay the bill when it comes due, that could lead to negative impacts on your credit score.


Photo credit: iStock/xijian

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

SoFi cardholders earn 2% unlimited cash back rewards when redeemed to save, invest, a statement credit, or pay down eligible SoFi debt.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details, please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Guide to Credit Card Purchase Protection

Guide to Credit Card Purchase Protection

Among the sea of valuable credit card perks, purchase protection is one that often gets overlooked. If you have a credit card with purchase protection, you can replace an item you paid for with your card should it get damaged, lost, or stolen.

However, there are restrictions on what is and isn’t covered under credit card purchase protection, which is why it’s important to understand how it works. You’ll also want to know the drawbacks and advantages of credit card purchase protection to determine if it’s the right path for you.

What Is Credit Card Purchase Protection?

Also known as purchase insurance or damage protection, credit card purchase protection is a type of credit card protection. If you have a purchase protection credit card, the credit card issuer might help you replace a stolen, lost, or damaged item that you bought using the card.

Purchase protection doesn’t last forever though — there are generally limits on the duration of the protection period and the coverage amounts. Also note that purchase protection serves as secondary coverage. This means that you must first file a claim with your primary insurance, and then purchase protection may kick in to cover any remaining amount.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

How Does Credit Card Purchase Protection Work?

As mentioned, purchase protection only applies to items that you paid for with your credit card. Not all instances of theft or damage are covered.

The protection period offered by cards with purchase protection can last anywhere from 90 to 120 days after the purchase is made. Coverage limits and terms also can vary. For instance, a credit card might have $500 cap per claim, with a maximum benefit of $50,000 per account.

Some card issuers extend this credit card advantage to recipients of gifts that you purchased using the card. For instance, if you bought a computer for your son for his birthday, he may be able to file a claim to get it replaced if it’s covered by purchase protection. However, the recipient would generally need to have an eligible credit card with that same card network.

Understanding How to Use Credit Card Purchase Protection

If, for example, the screen on the cell phone you purchased with your credit card shatters, and the incident occurs within your credit card’s purchase protection time frame, you may be able to take advantage of purchase protection.

To get coverage, you’d need to file a claim with the credit card. The claim form is usually found on a credit card’s website or listed under “forms” after you log in to your account. If your claim is approved, it typically takes anywhere from 15 to 30 days for you to receive reimbursement for your claim.

What Does a Credit Card’s Purchase Protection Not Cover?

Here’s what credit card purchase protection typically doesn’t cover:

•   Items that are excluded under the policy. Each card issuer has varying items that are excluded from coverage. For example, credit card purchase protection may exclude motorized vehicles, perishable items, antique or collectible items, computer software, and items purchased commercially for resale. There are also usually exclusions on the reasons for why you lost or damaged an item — for instance, items that were lost or damaged due to acts of war or fraudulent or illegal activity aren’t usually covered.

•   Items that mysteriously disappeared. If an object ends up missing with no apparent cause and without evidence of a wrongful act, then that item generally will not be covered by purchase protection.

•   Items damaged, lost, or stolen after the protection period. If an item you bought with your credit card was lost, damaged, or stolen after the coverage time window ended — usually past 90 to 120 days — then it won’t be covered.

•   Items that are used or pre-owned. Many credit card issuers exclude used or pre-owned items from purchase protection coverage.

What Does a Credit Card’s Purchase Protection Cover?

As discussed, the terms, items included, and coverage amounts provided vary by credit card issuer. For the most part, a credit card’s purchase protection covers items that were unintentionally lost, stolen, or damaged within a specified protection period.

You’ll also want to mind the cap per claim and per account. Your coverage limits may apply by account or by year. For example, you might have a cap of $500 per claim, and be limited to making $50,000 in claims per account you own.

Read your credit card’s terms and conditions to see what exactly is included under purchase protection and what coverage limits apply. This can also provide other valuable information to credit card holders, such as how credit card payments work.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due?

Pros and Cons of Credit Card Purchase Protection

Here’s an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of credit card purchase protection:

Pros

Cons

Built-in protection with your credit card Coverage limits generally apply
No deductible May take longer or require more steps than primary insurance

Pros

Let’s dive deeper into the upsides of credit card purchase insurance:

•   Built-in protection with your card. Probably the most significant advantage of credit card purchase protection is that it is essentially free insurance that comes with your card. As long as an item is covered under your card’s purchase policy, and you file a claim without the protection period, you typically can get some help replacing a lost, damaged, or stolen item, rather than driving up your credit card balance covering the cost.

•   No deductible. Unlike primary insurance, you might not need to pay a deductible to get your eligible claim reimbursed.

Cons

Here are the downsides of purchase protection to be aware of:

•   Limits. As insurance usually goes, there are coverage caps per claim and per account or year. You’ll need to check with your credit card issuer to determine the limits for your purchase protection policy.

•   May take longer than primary insurance. The time to file a claim and get reimbursed could take longer compared to the turnaround for primary insurance. That’s because purchase protection is secondary coverage, meaning you’ll usually have to go through your primary insurance first, whether that’s homeowners, auto, or rental insurance.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit?

Filing a Credit Card Purchase Protection Claim

Here are the steps you’ll need to take to file a claim for purchase protection:

1.    Review your card’s policies to see if the item is covered. Before moving forward with filing a credit card purchase protection claim, it’s smart to take a moment to make sure the item qualifies. Also remember that you’ll need to make at least your credit card minimum payment, even while waiting for a response.

2.    Fill out a claim form. This is usually found on the credit card issuer’s website or through your account after you log in. It’s recommended to file a claim as soon as you can. Keep in mind that credit cards typically have a time frame in which you can file a claim after the incident, usually within 30 to 90 days.

3.    Provide requested documents. When you file your claim, you’ll generally need to provide the following documents:

◦   A copy of the credit card statement that includes proof of purchase

◦   An itemized original receipt showing the purchase

◦   A copy of your insurance claim and insurance declaration page (if you have primary insurance)

◦   A police report (if the item was stolen)

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Other Types of Credit Card Protection

Beyond purchase protection, there are other types of protection commonly offered through credit cards. These include:

•   Return protection: This perk that some issuers offer allows you to return an item, even when the retailer has a no-return policy. While some cards do offer return protection, other cards have phased it out in recent years.

•   Price protection: Should you buy something and the item then drops in price within a specific period, price protection will kick in and match the lower, advertised price. Depending on the card, the time frame during which this applies might range from 30 to 60 days. You might get refunded up to a certain amount for specific types of purchases, though price protection usually has limits per item and per year.

•   Extended warranty protection: Instead of hopping on a retailer’s pricey service plan or opting for extended warranty at the checkout register, you might be able to take advantage of a credit card’s extended warranty protection. This protection matches the terms of your manufacturer’s warranty. However, it usually extends protection for up to a year, and some cards will even double the manufacturer warranty.

Beyond these protections, credit cards can offer an array of other perks, such as credit card travel insurance and credit card rental insurance, among others.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card?

The Takeaway

Credit card purchase protection is a valuable perk to take advantage of if a card offers it. The built-in insurance offered by purchase protection can save you should an item you bought with your card get lost, stolen, or damaged.

If you’re looking for a new credit card that offers a myriad of perks, consider the SoFi Credit Card. SoFi’s credit card offers cell phone protection and Mastercard ID theft protection. Plus, you can lower your APR through on-time payments and earn generous cash-back rewards on eligible purchases.

Apply today for the SoFi credit card!

FAQ

Do all credit cards offer purchase protection?

Not all credit cards offer purchase protection. In fact, cards offering this perk have become less common in recent years.

How do you get your money back from a credit card purchase?

You’ll need to file a claim and provide requested documents, such as a receipt, a copy of your credit card statement, and in some instances, a police report or proof of primary insurance. Once your claim has been approved, you can expect reimbursement within 15 to 30 days.

Is there a time limit on credit card purchase protection?

Yes, there’s a time window after you’ve made the purchase during which purchase protection applies. This is usually 90 to 120 days. There’s also a time limit as to when you can file a claim after the incident, which can be anywhere from 30 to 90 days. It’s best to file a claim as soon as possible.


Photo credit: iStock/filadendron

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

SoFi cardholders earn 2% unlimited cash back rewards when redeemed to save, invest, a statement credit, or pay down eligible SoFi debt.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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What Is the Minimum Age to Be an Authorized User on a Credit Card?

What Is the Minimum Age to Be an Authorized User on a Credit Card?

How old an authorized user has to be really depends on the credit card issuer. Some set the minimum age for an authorized user on a credit card at 13, while others require that an authorized user is 15 or even 16. Many issuers don’t specify a minimum age requirement at all.

In other words, it’s largely up to the adult’s discretion whether a minor seems old enough to become an authorized user. While it can serve as an educational tool and help build their credit, it also can lead to racking up debt and impacting both parties’ credit. You’ll want to make sure you know what you’re getting into in order to determine if it’s the right arrangement for you.

How Old Does an Authorized User Have to Be?

While the minimum age to get a credit card of your own is 18, an authorized user on a credit card can be as young as 13.

That being said, the minimum age for an authorized user on a credit card ultimately depends on the credit card company, as each issuer has its own age requirements. Some set the minimum age to 13 years old, while others may make authorized users wait to get a credit card at 16 or 15. Some credit card issuers don’t specify a minimum age for authorized users on credit cards.

Factors to Consider Before Adding a Minor as an Authorized User

Before you add a minor as a credit card authorized user, consider the following factors.

Whether You’ll Have to Pay a Fee

Depending on the card, you might have to pay an additional annual fee to add an authorized user. The fee might apply per authorized user, or it may cover, say, three users added to your account.

Check with your card card issuer to see if you might get hit with a fee for adding authorized users to your account.

If They’re Old Enough to Handle the Responsibility

Even if you can add an authorized user as young as 13 to your card, doing so might not be in your best interest — or theirs. For instance, a child in their early teens might not have a basic grasp of managing finances, or they might not be mature enough to handle the financial responsibility and abide by basic credit card rules.

If you’re adding your minor as an authorized user to help them establish credit, a few years is enough time for them to be on their way. Plus, should you slip on your credit, it could also impact your child’s credit.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

How You’ll Track the User’s Purchases

Most credit cards don’t issue unique card numbers to each authorized user. That means if you have multiple authorized users on an account, you won’t be able to easily figure out who made which purchases. Before you go ahead with adding an authorized user, make sure you have a system worked out so you’re not stuck covering their spending.

Whether You’ll Give Access to the Card

While you can give an authorized user their own card, you don’t have to, especially if you’re worried about how they’ll spend with it. If you’re strictly adding a child to your card to help them build credit, there’s no need to hand them a card. They don’t need to have access to your credit card number, either.

Steps to Add a Minor as an Authorized User

First and foremost, you’ll want to carefully weigh the pros and cons of adding someone under the age of 18 as an authorized user. If you have decided that you want to proceed, you’ll need to do the following.

1. Educate the Child About Credit Card Basics

Before adding a minor as an authorized user and giving them the privilege to spend on your card, sit them down and walk them through how credit cards work. For instance, you’ll want to explain what a credit limit is, how interest rates work, what one’s financial responsibility is when putting purchases on a card, and why it’s beneficial to build credit.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit?

2. Reach Out to the Credit Card Company

Next, you’ll need to contact the credit card company to let them know you’d like to add an authorized user to your card. You can do so by calling the number on the back of the card, or by logging onto your account online.

You usually need to provide the following information about the individual you’re adding as an authorized user:

•   Name

•   Date of birth

•   Social Security number

•   Address (for them to receive the card)

•   Additionally, you may be able to set spending limits or restrictions for the authorized user at this point in the process.

3. Check Your Account

To make sure the authorized user was correctly added, log on to your account on the issuer’s website or through the app. Double-check to make sure the minor’s name and details are all correct. You might also receive an email notification informing you of this change.

The Cost of Adding an Authorized User

Many credit card issuers do not charge a fee to add an authorized user to an account. However, premium credit cards or cards that already charge annual fees, may charge an annual fee for adding authorized users. This fee may apply per authorized user, or you may pay a flat cost for up to a certain number of users.

Beyond this potential fee, there are other costs you could incur by adding an authorized user. For instance, additional purchases made by the authorized user could cause you to rack up a balance. Plus, their activity can impact your credit utilization, which could hurt your credit score.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card?

Pros and Cons of Adding a Minor as an Authorized User

Here’s an overview of the advantages and downsides of adding a minor as an authorized user to your credit card:

Pros

Cons

Helps to build credit May cause you to rack up debt
Allows you to earn more rewards Can’t easily track who’s making purchases
Serves as an educational tool Can impact credit of both primary cardholder and authorized user

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

Pros

Adding an authorized user can have the following benefits:

•   Helps to build credit: A major upside of adding a minor as an authorized user is that it will help them establish credit at a young age. They’ll have a more firm financial footing as a result.

•   Allows you to earn more rewards: Another person making purchases on your card means there’s greater potential to earn more rewards. You can more quickly than if you would if you were the sole user.

•   Serves as an educational tool: If you take the time to teach them, adding a minor as an authorized user to your card can help your child learn credit basics and how to manage credit card debt.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card?

Cons

Beware of the potential downsides of having an authorized as well:

•   May cause you to rack up debt: It can be easy to rack up debt and overspend on the credit card with an authorized user. This is especially possible if you’re giving a child access to your card who is still wrapping their head around financial basics.

•   Can’t easily track who is making the purchases: Because purchases aren’t tracked by the authorized user, it might be tough to figure out which person was responsible for which transaction with your card. This is particularly tricky when you have, say, a joint account user and several authorized users.

•   Can impact credit of both primary cardholder and authorized user: If having several users on your card equates to carrying a higher balance, that can up your credit utilization ratio. As credit usage makes up 30% of your credit score, you’ll want to keep that ratio under 30%. Beyond potentially hurting your credit, also know that any irresponsible credit behavior on your card can hurt your authorized user’s credit. For instance, if you are late on a credit card payment, both your credit and the credit of the minor you added to your card can suffer.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due?

Tips for Managing a Minor as an Authorized User

If those possible downsides are making you nervous, here are a few things you can do to ensure your minor uses their privileges responsibly:

•   Set limits. Talk to your child and give them an amount they can spend on the card each billing cycle. Also, determine if they’ll be responsible for helping you pay off their share. Or perhaps you might consider an alternative arrangement, such as doing chores around the house to cover purchases they made on their credit card. Hash this out beforehand.

•   Treat the card as a teaching tool. Sit down with your child and go over basics of a credit card, such as how interest fees work, how to read a billing statement, and what can happen if you’re late or miss a payment. You’ll also want to teach them how repayment works.

•   Set alerts. To keep an eye on your child’s spending, consider setting alerts on your credit card. You can set it up so you get notifications for transactions over a certain amount, or any transactions made online, in person, or over the phone.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Removing a Minor as an Authorized User

Removing a minor as an authorized user from a credit card is a relatively simple and painless process. To do so, you call the number on the back of the card and let them know the name of the person you’d like taken off. If you have several authorized users on a card, be sure to specify which card user you’re removing.

It’s not a bad idea to leave a paper trail and send a letter to the credit card company reiterating that you’ve requested the change over the phone.

The Takeaway

The minimum age for an authorized user on a credit card varies depending on the credit card issuer. Some require an authorized user to be 13, while others set the age limit at 15 or 16, or even have no formal limit at all.

While you can add a minor as an authorized user on a credit card, you’ll want to carefully weigh the pros and cons before doing so. If you decide to add a child as a user, set some ground rules and teach them credit and financial basics beforehand.

Looking for your next credit card? If you get the SoFi Credit Card, you can earn generous cash-back rewards on all purchases.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Do some issuers allow authorized users with no minimum age?

Usually the minimum age requirement to add an authorized user to a credit card is at least 13. However, there are several credit card issuers that don’t note a specific minimum age.

How many authorized users can I add to my account?

It depends on the credit card issuer. Some allow up to four, while others allow up to seven. Some credit card issuers have no limit as to how many authorized users you can add to a credit card. The number of authorized users might also depend on what type of card it is, such as a rewards or travel credit card.

Is an authorized user relationship or a joint account holder better?

It depends on what kind of privileges you want the additional card user to have and the reason you’d like to add them. If you want to help boost someone’s credit and not have them responsible for making payments, then an authorized user could be the better route. If you’d like the user to be equally responsible for making payments and have access to make changes on the account, a joint account holder might make sense.


Photo credit: iStock/Manuel Tauber-Romieri

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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Guide to Credit Card Outstanding Balance

Guide to Credit Card Outstanding Balance

Your credit card statement can feel like information overload with all of its numbers and terminology. Understanding the definition of terms like outstanding balance, statement balance, and billing cycle can help you to navigate this monthly statement a little more easily.

So what is an outstanding balance, how is it different from a statement balance, and can it affect your credit score? Put simply, the outstanding balance on a credit card is what the amount of money you still owe to the credit card company is called. Knowing this figure is important to avoiding interest and potential effects on your credit.

What Is an Outstanding Balance on a Credit Card?

Outstanding balance is another way to express current balance. In fact, depending on your credit card issuer, your monthly statement and mobile app may use the term “current balance” instead of “outstanding balance.”

But what is an outstanding balance in credit card terminology? A credit card outstanding balance is simply the amount of money you have not paid to the credit card issuer — i.e., it’s what you still owe.

Your outstanding balance includes any purchases you have made on your credit card but have not yet paid off (from the current and previous billing cycles), but it also includes:

•   Interest earned on previous balances

•   Balance transfers (and any balance transfer fees)

•   Cash advances

•   Any other fees you may owe, like late fees or foreign transaction fees

Recommended: Closing a Credit Card with a Balance

Where to Find Your Outstanding Balance on a Credit Card

You can check your outstanding balance by calling your credit card issuer or accessing your account online or through the mobile app. Depending on the terminology the company uses, you may see the outstanding balance listed as your current balance or simply your credit card balance.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

Current Balance vs Outstanding Balance

Current balance is simply another term for outstanding balance. Depending on your credit card issuer, you might see one term or the other used. In some cases, it may simply be labeled “account balance” or “credit card balance.”

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

Statement Balance vs Outstanding Balance

So what’s the difference between a credit card statement balance and outstanding balance? Your credit card statement balance is the total amount owed after a billing cycle. It can include any purchases made during the billing cycle, plus any balance, interest, and fees carried over from the previous billing cycle.

Once issued, the statement balance amount does not change, even if you continue to swipe your card for more purchases during the grace period (this is the period between statement closing date and due date, during which you won’t earn interest on your unpaid statement balance). As long as you pay off the statement balance in full by the due date, you should not accrue any interest.

Your outstanding balance encompasses everything you owe at a specific moment in time. Sometimes your outstanding balance can be higher than your statement balance; sometimes it may be lower. Consider this example:

Your billing cycle ends, and you now have a statement balance of $1,000. In the next week, you spend $500 more with your credit card. Your statement balance remains $1,000, while your outstanding balance grows to $1,500. But as long as you pay that $1,000 statement balance by the due date, you will not incur any interest — and your statement balance will drop to $0 until the end of the next billing cycle.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Remaining Balance vs Outstanding Balance

Remaining balance refers to whatever amount is still due after you’ve made your monthly credit card payment. For example, if your statement balance is $500 but you only pay $300, your remaining balance is $200. This, along with the interest it accrues, becomes a part of your outstanding balance.

You can avoid accruing interest on a remaining balance by paying off your statement balance in full each month rather than only the credit card minimum payment.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

What Is an Average Outstanding Balance?

The typical amount of an outstanding balance can vary widely from person to person — it all depends on how much you use your credit card, what your credit limit is, and whether you carry a balance. That being said, your average outstanding balance is simply the amount you owe on a credit card, averaged over a certain period of time.

The average outstanding balance formula for a statement period would be the total of your balance for each day of the statement period, divided by the number of days in the cycle. This can be helpful to know given most credit card issuers calculate interest on a daily basis, based on your average daily account balance.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit

Paying Your Credit Card Outstanding Balance: What to Know

The nuances of credit card balances can be tough to nail down, but understanding how they work — particularly outstanding balances — may help you avoid interest and impacts to your credit score.

Here’s the short version:

•   Paying the minimum balance due each month will help you avoid late fees and negative marks for late payments on your credit report.

•   Paying the statement balance in full by the due date will keep you from accruing interest.

•   Paying down the outstanding balance, or current balance, even outside of your normal payment cycle, can reduce your overall credit utilization, which influences your credit score.

How Interest Contributes to Outstanding Balances

When you make purchases with your credit card throughout a billing cycle, the card issuer has lent you money to cover the expenses. And if you don’t pay the lender the statement balance in full by the specified due date, any remaining balance will become part of your outstanding balance — and it will start accruing interest.

The best way to avoid paying credit card interest is to pay your statement balance in full by each due date.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

How an Outstanding Balance Affects Your Credit Score

When you carry over unpaid balances, you’ll do more than earn interest that you have to pay. You’ll also increase your overall credit utilization, which is the amount of your total available credit you’re using. That’s because your outstanding balance counts toward your credit limit.

For example, if your credit limit is $5,000 and your outstanding balance is $2,500, you’ve utilized 50% of your credit limit. In general, creditors prefer to see a credit utilization of 30% or lower. This signals to them that you can responsibly pay back your debts.

In fact, credit utilization is the second most important factor affecting your FICO credit score. It accounts for 30% of your overall credit score. Thus, carrying a high outstanding balance regularly can adversely affect your credit score.

For this reason, experts typically recommend paying off your full statement balance every month if you’re able. And if you make a large payment on your credit card during a billing cycle that increases your outstanding balance tremendously, you may want to pay it off early to reduce your credit utilization — or else you chance a drop in your credit score.

Recommended: What Happens If You Overpay Your Credit Card?

The Takeaway

Credit cards can be confusing, especially when you’re new to the terminology. But once you understand how your statement and outstanding balances work and can responsibly make payments in full and on time, credit cards can be a great tool for boosting your credit score.

Interested in applying for a credit card with cash-back rewards? Try the SoFi credit card.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Does outstanding balance mean past due?

Having an outstanding balance does not necessarily mean it’s past due. Your credit card requires a minimum monthly payment; if you have satisfied that payment, you do not need to immediately pay your outstanding balance. But keep in mind that you generally need to pay the full statement balance each month to avoid accruing interest.

How do I clear the outstanding balance on my credit card?

To clear the outstanding balance on a credit card, you can make a payment equal to the amount. This should bring the balance down to zero. However, you do not always have to pay your outstanding, or current, balance to avoid interest. Paying your monthly statement balance in full should keep you from accruing interest, even if your outstanding balance is higher.

Why is my outstanding balance negative?

Your credit card outstanding balance can go negative if you pay off the card and then receive a credit for a returned item or claim cash-back rewards from your purchases. If you want, you can request a check from the credit card issuer in the amount of the negative balance. Or, you can apply the negative balance on a credit card toward future purchases on the credit card.


Photo credit: iStock/SARINYAPINNGAM

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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