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Most of the attention on fees has focused on the charges that cardholders have to pay directly. Examples include fees to advance cash from a card account, fees for late payments, annual fees on a card account, or annual fees on a card account that carries a rewards or benefits program. But many cardholders would be surprised to learn that the interchange, which they pay indirectly in the cost of their good and services, is card issuers’ largest single source of fee income, accounting for 50% of all the income an average card issuer will make from fees this year. This compares to 27% of total fee income from penalties, 13% from cash advances, 8% from annual fees and 2% from fees on for card enhancements and rewards programs.

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