Young man checking bill statements

Recurring subscriptions, overcharges, free trial offers — unexpected charges that show up on your credit card statement — cost people millions of dollars each year. But you don’t have to be among the masses losing money on these often overlooked charges. Here's what you can do.

What is the meaning of recurring charges?

A recurring charge is a charge on your credit card that is set to bill automatically on a date you select. Charges continue until you alert the merchant to cancel your account. 

That forgotten magazine subscription could be on auto-renew. Maybe you didn’t get a confirmation that your subscription was actually cancelled. Did your free trial offer turn into regular monthly payments? Whatever the reason, the resulting charges are costing you extra money you could use elsewhere.

Track your transactions

First, get into the habit of closely examining your bill. Don’t wait until the end of the month to match your statement charges against receipts. If you can, set aside a few minutes each week to log in to your credit card account online and view your recent transactions one by one.

As soon as you see an unexpected charge, take action. Make sure you’ve cancelled unwanted subscriptions and free trial offers. If the company is taking too long to close your account, contact your card issuer to block the company from charging your credit card. And next time you sign up for an offer or subscription, add a reminder to your calendar to alert you a week before the expiration date. This will give you ample time to cancel before charges hit your card.

A personal finance manager or app like LGFCU’s Compass, can track your transactions in real time. Compass is a complimentary service that gives you control over all your financial information in one place. It can help you spot unwanted charges faster and take action.

Use account alerts for your card

Check to see if your credit card comes with alerts. This way you'll receive a text or email if a purchase exceeds pre-set spending limits, or if the card was not present for a purchase. Compass also includes an alerts feature so you’re the first to know about potentially fraudulent transactions or large expenses.

Keep a closer eye on your statements and you'll likely keep more money in your pocket.

The advice provided is for informational purposes only.

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