Seeing an unfamiliar charge on your credit card statement can be confusing and concerning. A charge with a vague description like “Charter Services” may leave you wondering what service was provided and if the charge is legitimate. This article will explain what charter services charges on credit card statements typically refer to, so you can identify the source of the charge and determine if it is valid.
What Are Charter Services?
The term “charter services” is broad and can refer to services provided by different types of companies. Here are some of the main types of businesses that may bill you for charter services:
Some banks provide specialized services to their customers beyond basic checking and savings accounts. These additional services are known as “charter services” and may include:
- Issuing official bank checks or cashier’s checks
- Converting a checking account into a cashier’s check or money order
- Providing wires or electronic fund transfers
- Currency exchange services
- Check cashing services
- Other cash handling services
Banks will usually charge a fee for these services, which may show up on your credit card statement as a “charter services” charge. The fee amount will depend on the specific service provided.
Charter Transportation Companies
Charter transportation refers to hiring a vehicle and driver for a specific trip or event. Types of charter transportation include:
- Charter buses
- Limos and sedans
- Yachts and boats
- Helicopters and airplanes
If you booked transportation with a charter company, the charges may appear as “charter services” on your credit card statement. This covers the cost of renting the vehicle and crew.
Cable/Internet/Phone Service Providers
Some telecommunications companies like Spectrum/Charter Communications may label their monthly service charges as “charter services” on billing statements. This is simply referring to the services they provide, such as cable TV, internet, and home phone.
Other Service Providers
Some other types of service providers like cleaning services, caterers, or event rental companies may also use the general term “charter services” on statements. This simply refers to the customized services they were hired to provide for a specific event or function.
Why Do I Have a Charter Services Charge on My Card?
If you have located a charter services charge on your credit card statement, here are some potential reasons it could be there:
- You hired a charter transportation service like a party bus, private jet, or yacht rental. The charge covers the cost of renting the vehicle and crew.
- You requested a cash service from your bank, like a certified check, cashier’s check, or wire transfer. The fee covers the bank’s cost for providing the service.
- You are a Spectrum/Charter Communications customer, and the charge is your monthly bill for services like cable TV, internet, and home phone.
- You hired a catering service, cleaning service, or rental company to provide services for an event. The charge covers the customized services provided.
- It is a fraudulent or unauthorized charge that you did not initiate.
If you do not recall utilizing any charter services, it is important to investigate the charge further to determine if it is fraudulent.
How to Identify the Source of a Charter Services Charge
If you don’t recognize a charter services charge on your statement, here are some steps you can take to identify where it originated:
- Review recent activity. Look back through your receipts and records over the past month to jog your memory on any services you may have utilized.
- Look for a phone number. Charter services charges often include a customer service phone number or merchant phone number on the statement. Call the number to inquire about the charge.
- Check the transaction date. The date may provide a clue if it coincides with a trip, event, or request to your bank.
- Contact your service providers. Call your cable/phone company, bank, and any other regular service providers to ask if they billed you.
- Call the card issuer. Your credit card company should be able to trace the origin of the charge by researching it. They can tell you the vendor name.
- Review account activity online. Many card issuer websites allow you to view pending activity and transaction details. Look for vendor names.
- Check your email. Search your inbox for receipts, invoices, or communications related to services rendered around the transaction date.
Doing some detective work can usually unravel the source of an unclear charge on your statement. If attempts to trace it are unsuccessful, report the charge as fraudulent to your card issuer.
How to Dispute Unauthorized Charter Services Charges
If you determine a charter services charge on your card is fraudulent or unauthorized, act quickly to dispute it by taking the following steps:
- Report it to your card issuer. Call the number on the back of your card and state you wish to dispute a charge. Provide details on why you believe it is fraudulent.
- Submit dispute paperwork. Your card issuer will provide forms to fill out with your dispute claim. Provide as much detail as possible.
- Monitor your statements. Keep an eye out for refunds or communications related to your dispute claim as it is investigated.
- Follow up if needed. If you do not hear any status updates within 30 days, check in with your card issuer for an update.
- Dispute a second time if denied. If your claim is initially denied but you still believe the charge to be invalid, resubmit the dispute with any new evidence.
- Request a new card. Even if your dispute claim is successful, it is wise to request a replacement card with new card numbers if fraud is suspected.
- Check your credit. Fraudulent activity can affect your credit, so check your credit reports periodically for any suspicious activity.
Acting quickly and providing detailed information in your dispute claim gives you the best chance of having unauthorized charges removed and refunded. Be persistent if your initial claim is rejected but you believe something is wrong.
Tips for Avoiding Confusion Over Charter Services Charges
To avoid future confusion over vague charter services charges, here are some helpful tips:
- Review statements carefully. Don’t just skim your statements. Read line-by-line and research anything you don’t recognize.
- Save receipts and records. Maintain thorough documentation on services you utilize and what you paid each vendor.
- Note transaction dates. Jot down dates of trips, events, and requests to financial institutions for cash services.
- Set up transaction alerts. Many banks provide text or email alerts when your card is used. These can tip you off to possible unauthorized activity.
- Monitor your credit. Routine credit checks can detect any accounts or charges opened without your authorization.
- Shred statements. Prevent dumpster divers from acquiring your personal information to commit fraud.
- Use credit vs debit. Fraudulent credit charges are typically easier to remove than unauthorized debit charges.
Staying organized and monitoring your accounts closely will help identify the source of vague charges. Report any suspicious activity immediately to prevent liability for fraudulent charges.
When Charter Services Charges Are Legitimate
While confusing charter services charges are sometimes fraudulent, often they are completely valid fees for services rendered. Here are some examples:
- Charter bus rental for a school field trip
- Certified check issued by your bank to pay your taxes
- Yacht cruise booked for a company retreat
- Spectrum cable and internet monthly subscription
- Limousine hired for a wedding
If research indicates the charge is from a vendor you actually utilized, ensure you received the expected service and that the amount charged matches your receipts. If the charge ends up being valid, just document it in your records and make payment arrangements if needed.
The Bottom Line
Unfamiliar charges like “charter services” on your credit card statement can raise eyebrows. But investigating the date, transaction details, your records, and calling service providers can typically uncover where the charge originated. Legitimate charter services charges are fees for specialized services you requested like cash handling from your bank or transportation rentals. If your sleuthing reveals the charges are fraudulent, immediately begin the dispute process for refunds. With some diligent monitoring and research, you can identify the source of vague charges and take any needed actions to protect your finances.