Finance: On The Hook For Fees

As interest rates fall, credit-card issuers are jacking up other charges

Here's how little faith Steve McNamara has in his credit-card company: every month, rather than simply drop his payment in a mailbox, the Mill Valley, Calif., resident trudges to the post office to send in his Visa bill by certified mail, so he'll have the receipt as proof that he paid on time.

Last year, you see, when McNamara was doing things the conventional way, the credit-card issuer, Chevy Chase Bank (whose portfolio has since been acquired by the First USA unit of Bank One), slapped him with four $29 late fees even though he regularly mailed his check two weeks...

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