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Special section Be free of fees

Credit card and bank fees have hit historic highs. Congress and the Supreme Court helped them get there.

Who's getting rich from fees?

Here come the fees

This roundup of fees from banks, credit card companies and lenders outlines some common expenses consumers face. Whether it's a $50 fee for stopping payment on a check or a run-of-the-mill bank overdraft charge of $38, it's time to stand up to fees. Use this guide to see what fees to expect, how much they cost and how to avoid them.

Fee roundup
What it is
Fee range
How to avoid
What it is: Banks charge their own customers when they withdraw money from other institutions ATMs. Sometimes you get stuck with no cash and there's not a familiar ATM in sight. When that happens, you'll probably be charged twice -- once by the owner of the ATM and then again by your own bank.
Fee range: In our Fall 2006 Checking Study, Bankrate found that the average fee a bank charges its customers who use another institution's ATM is $1.25.
How to avoid: Plan ahead, budget and carry an adequate cash reserve. Grocery stores, major drugstores and stores such as Target or Wal-Mart offer the option of cash back when using a debit card to purchase, so if there's one in the area and you need a bottle of water anyway, it could save you a buck or two to get cash from them instead of an ATM.
  Tell us about your experience with fees. -- Posted: June 11, 2007
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