Beware the New Account Inactivity Fee for BMO MasterCard !

For several years, BMO MasterCard has had a fee for people who don’t use their card much. Specifically, if you had a credit balance on your card (perhaps because you over-paid a bill or received a refund for an item back to your card account) and if you didn’t use the card for 12 months, they would charge you $10 and take it out of your positive card balance. This year, however, they have started charging a fee to everyone!

Who Will Get Charged the BMO MasterCard $10 Inactive Card Fee?

If you don’t use your MasterCard one month, the clock will start ticking. If, eleven months later, you still have not used the card, they will bill your card $10.

What Can I Do To Keep My BMO MasterCard Active?

To avoid the fee, you need to

  • buy something that bills your credit card
  • receive a refund on your credit card account
  • pay interest on a balance on your credit card, or
  • pay other fees on your account, perhaps a fee for a cash advance, for example

at least once every 12 months.

How Can I Remember to Keep My BMO MasterCard Active?

You may want to set it up so that an annual or semi-annual bill is charged to your credit card account.

Of course, you’ll need to make sure you remember and pay the credit card bill or you could end up with a huge amount of interest due!

Why Would Anyone Keep a BMO MasterCard If They Are Not Using It?

Many people keep a credit card as a “backup” card in case their usual card is unavailable. This secondary card may seldom get used.

Other people don’t buy much on credit and may simply forget to use it for a year.

Some people also keep an older credit card “open” to maintain the information about the card on their credit history with Equifax and TransUnion.

Are There Any Other New Fees or New Fee Explanations (for 2016) for a BMO MasterCard?

Other fees that they are emphasizing include Cash Advance Fees and Dishonoured Payment Fees.

If you get a cash advance from your BMO MasterCard using

  • BMO Telephone Banking (whether self-serve or through an associate answering your call) or
  • through BMO Online, or
  • through BMO Mobile, or
  • through BMO Tablet Banking

You will be charged a fee of $3.50 in addition to any interest charges on the advance and any other fees, including currency conversion rates.

I thought they had stopped issuing MasterCard cheques but apparently not because there is also a fee if you bounce one.

If you write a MasterCard cheque that exceeds the amount of credit available on your account, it will bounce. (They will refuse to cash it.) If you do that, they will also charge you a fee of $40-$48.

So watch out that you don’t write a cheque at the same time as your pre-authorized bill payment appears on your credit card balance or you could get a nasty fee surprise.

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Another Near Year End Job: Check Your Credit Report for Free from Equifax

Back in November I listed some of the financial chores to consider completing by year end. Of course, I forgot one. You can check your credit file annually for free; if you’re like me, you probably have forgotten to do that: It’s not yet too late! You can check your credit report for free once per year with TransUnion and Equifax.

Why Should I Check My Credit Report?

This check will not tell you your credit rating or credit score. It will only tell you information about what credit products you are using and whether there are any problems such as late payments. For people who use credit responsibly and always pay off their balance at the end of the month, the purpose of the check is to make sure no identity mix-ups or identity theft has taken place. Continue reading