Americans shelled out more than $24 billion in credit card fees last year, an 18% jump over the previous year. The figure does not include balance transfer fees, foreign exchange fees, fees for ancillary services, or miscellaneous fees for account research which could easily push the number above $30 billion. During 2004, consumers were charged $14.8 billion in penalty fees, specifically late payment fees and over-limit fees. Annual fees edged up from $3.4 billion to $3.5 billion. Cash advance fees increased 9% from $5.6 billion to $6.1 billion. According to R.K. Hammer Investment Bankers, U.S. credit card issuers produced an estimated $50.8 billion in fee income last year, with half the fees coming from merchants.