How Credit Cards Soak You

After getting socked with a late fee and finance charge on my Kohl's account in May, I called to plead my case. How could a $45.08 pair of sneakers result in a $70.58 charge? O.K., I was two days late. Still, the $25 late fee and 50ยข finance charge came to a whopping annualized penalty rate of more than 21,000%. A local loan shark would have cut me a better deal. The Kohl's rep's response: "It's perfectly legal, and everybody does it."

Turns out she was right, and so began my education in just how much my credit cards were costing...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!