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ARLINGTON, Va. – Fees for going over the limit of a credit card, unknown as little as 15 years ago, have climbed and become more ubiquitous, according to Cardweb.com, a site on the World Wide Web that tracks credit card trends. The site reports that card issuing Chase bank had recently changed its policy to charge an over limit fee if a cardholder goes over limit at any time during the billing cycle. Previously the policy had been to charge a fee if the cardholder ended the billing cycle with a balance over their credit limit. The tightening policies come on the heels of a 17% increase in the fees over the last 15 years, with the average large card issuer charging $33.50 for the fee. MBNA, a noted purchaser of credit union card portfolios, charges $39.00 for its over limit fee, according to Cardweb. Critics have charged that the fees are not only a poor deal for consumers; they are also a poor card management policy. Because many issuers allow the addition of finance charges to trigger the fee, many cardholders are so concerned about going over the fee that they effectively only use 66% of the available credit on a card.

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