Monday, January 10, 2011

Don't Start the New Year with New Fees

Tips from Consumer's Union on how to avoid new banking fees

We’ve noticed a lot of news coverage lately about how banks are ending “Free Checking” to make up for the money they are losing as a result of stronger overdraft protections for consumers. As the banks seek to regain that lost revenue, it’s important to be on the look-out for new fees.

In the meantime, a good place to avoid the new bank fees is to try a credit union. They usually have lower fees and are less likely to introduce new ones

Keep a close eye on your bank statement. New fees will show up first in the enclosures and then on your statement.


If you don’t like a new fee, complain to your bank about it. Then ask your bank what other accounts it offers -one of them may fit with your pattern of transactions better. Some fees are “trial balloons.” The bank may be testing to see if its customers will put up with a particular new fee. Call customer service and ask how to avoid the fee and to tell your bank that you don’t like it.

If you can’t avoid the fee consider moving your money and telling your bank why you are leaving it. If you change your bank account, be careful how you do it.


Also:
Watch for new fees charging you to get paper statements, checks, or even check images.

Don’t sign up for an expensive overdraft loan feature.

Do sign up for text alerts from your bank to help you keep track of your balance.

Do balance your checking account and keep track of how much money you have.

Watch out for the check hold, banks can make you wait to use your deposits and this can cause your checks to bounce.

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