Protecting yourself from bank fees

Due to consumer outcry, several banks recently canceled their plans to charge their customers debit card usage fees.  While a victory for consumers, banks will likely continue to find other ways to recoup transaction fee losses.  Be on the lookout to protect yourself from new banking fees and possibly speak with a financial advisor.

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Angie Hicks, Angie’s List founder:  Just about any purse or wallet you’re going to see a debit card. In a recent Angie’s List poll, 50 percent of the respondents said they use their debit card every day.  It’s important to be reviewing your bank statements or any literature you’re receiving from your bank so that you can see notification ahead of time and change your habits or change your bank.

Susan Elser, Elser Financial Planning:  “You want to first discuss with whatever institution you are looking at switching to, what you are going to do to avoid fees there and some credit unions and online banks may have either lower fees or reduced required minimum balances.  I do think that having cash emergency reserves helps an awful lot of people avoid a number of problems and it’s turning out that this may also help you avoid bank fees.  I see overdraft charges as a problem for all income brackets for not maintaining enough cash in their bank account so boosting your cash reserves may also help you avoid these fees which I see among the steepest that banks charge.”

Angie’s List Tips:

  • Review all bank notices
  • Ask about fees
  • Maintain cash balance to cover fees
  • Check Angie's List for local reviews on financial planners

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