When you sign a credit agreement, part of the agreement involves you agreeing to not borrowing more money than the lender has agreed.
If you do go over this pre-arranged amount, the lender can charge you a penalty fee of no more than £12. This fee was agreed as fair by the Office of Fair Trading in 2007.
It is there so that the credit card company can cover their costs of informing you that you have gone over your credit card limit and their efforts in trying to get the money back from you.
However, some credit card companies may let you off the credit limit fee if it is your ‘first time offence’ with them. Some lenders understand that mistakes do happen. You will need to ring them up and plead your case for the charge to be revoked and taken off of your account.
If it is very unusual behaviour, based on how you normally handle the account, the credit card company may even ring you up to see if your card has been stolen and therefore the limit has been exceeded fraudulently.
There can be another very costly consequence of going over the credit limit for those people who are currently in the course of an introductory offer.
Some credit card companies will withdraw an introductory interest-free offer on balance transfers and/or purchases if you ‘abuse’ your credit card account by either going over your credit limit, making late payments or by missing payments altogether. The interest rate will then revert back to the standard APR you were quoted when you originally took the card out. This is likely to result in you losing substantially more than just the standard £12 fee.