How to avoid paying annoying and expensive bank fees

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With prices as high as they are on so many things this year, no one wants to throw away money on unnecessary fees.

But have you ever gotten money from an ATM and wondered why you have to pay money just to get your money?

Out-of-network ATM charges are just one of many bank fees people complain about.

Jerry George says he has been hit by them, as well as by annoying monthly fees.

“Eight dollars for a monthly fee,” he said.

Megan Polinsky says she’s been hit with overdraft fees that then compounded.

“It is ridiculous,” she said. “Sometimes it’s been $100, sometimes it’s been $200.”

How to avoid annoying fees

So what can you do to avoid these fees?

For basic checking and savings accounts, Nathan Grant of MoneyTips.com says the most common fees are:

  • Insufficient funds
  • Overdraft fees

Grant says both can be avoided by maintaining a minimum balance.

“Look into things like low balance alerts,” he said. “So you could get a heads up if you’re nearing that point where the fees could take place.”

Grant says come up with a number you always want in your account.

Also, he says, ask your bank about “overdraft protection.”

Another pesky fee you can avoid:

  • Late credit card fees

Grant says avoid late payment fees on your credit cards by setting up automatic payments for at least the minimum.

If you have rent or other big payments due at the start of the month, ask the issuer about changing the due date.

“If you move it to later in the month when you have another pay period, you might be able to put more down on the card and not just pay the minimum,” he said.

Other fees to avoid:

  • Annual credit card fees

If you’re paying an annual fee for a credit card, calculate whether the benefits outweigh the cost.

  • Balance transfer fees

If you’re looking to transfer debt from one card to another, transfer your balance within a promotional period to avoid balance transfer fees.

Grant’s last tip: It never hurts to ask if a fee can be waived.

“If it’s not a pattern, it’s not something you do all the time,” he says.

Because Jerry George, like most of us, doesn’t like surprises.

“I hate them,” he said.

And that way you don’t waste your money.

About the Author
John Matarese

John's goal is to help as many TV viewers as possible save money, avoid bad deals, know a rip-off when one comes their way, and be educated consumers. His informative weekly consumer segment "Don't Waste Your Money" now airs on 45 TV stations from San Diego to Tampa to Houston and Cincinnati. More.


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