Late fees, punitive interest rates, over-limit fees, loading up your credit report with negative information -- it's enough to make you scream!

It's not that your creditors are doing anything illegal. You just didn't understand the power you gave them when you accepted that card. It was buried in the fine print. Now it seems like they're staying up nights looking for new ways to stick it to you.

If you've had enough, maybe it's time for you to turn the tables and get back at them.

Pay early. Nearly 30 percent of a credit card company's profits are derived from fees: annual fees, late fees and over-limit fees. You'd think they would be pretty satisfied with all that interest you send them each month. But no. They want more.

Get back at your credit card company by making a decision right now never to pay another late fee. Be quick with your payment. Send it in the preprinted envelope that came with your statement. Don't enclose a note, use a paper clip, decorate with stickers or do anything that will pull it out of the fast track and into manual processing.

Open eyes. All of your creditors know what's in your credit report. They read it regularly. You should too. Part of your agreement with them is that they can check up on you whenever they want, to see how you are handling your financial affairs. You can get back at your creditors by staying ahead of them. Manage your credit report by reading it regularly. (It's free but only if you get it at AnnualCreditReport.com) If you don't understand what it says, ask. If your creditors are punishing you for things on your credit report that are not true, don't sit back passively. Get it fixed. Then confront your creditors. Don't back off until they reverse the action.

Pay off. Nothing will benefit you more than bringing your balances to $0. It's like getting a tax-free raise because you get to keep all of that money you've been sending each month to your creditors.

Zero tolerance. Your creditors are not going to be thrilled with you and your zero balances. You are the source of their income. They will miss your money terribly. Get back at them by refusing ever to pay another penny in interest. If they're charging an annual fee, tell them bye-bye.

Getting back at your creditors will bring you great satisfaction. An even greater payoff is the peace of mind you will enjoy. You'll sleep well and get along better with the people who mean the most to you. It's a proven fact that even your health will improve. Of all financial pressures, credit card debt causes the most deadly type of stress.

August, 11, 2010

©Copyright 2010 Mary Hunt. Everyday Cheapskate is a Registered Trademark

Check out Mary's recently released revised and expanded edition of The Financially Confident Woman (DPL Press, 2008).

Debt-Proof Living was founded in 1992 by Mary Hunt. What began as a newsletter to encourage and empower people to break free from the bondage of consumer debt has grown into a huge community of ordinary people who have achieved remarkable success in their quest to effectively manage their money and stay out of debt. Today, "Debt-Proof Living" is read by close to 100,000 cheapskates.  Click here to subscribe. Also, you can receive Mary's free daily e-mail "Everyday Cheapskate" by signing up at EverydayCheapskate.com