Bounced-check fees hit new high
Bouncing a check is never fun, but if it feels like it gets costlier every year, you're not imagining things. For the 12th year in a row, bounced-check fees hit a new record -- $30.47, up from in last year's $29.58.
Bounced-check fees, known in the industry as nonsufficient funds fees, have been one of the biggest moneymakers for banks in the past, along with debit overdraft fees. The bounced-check cash cow might get a little skinnier, and serial overdrafters' wallets a little fatter, with upcoming FDIC regulations requiring banks to change the way they calculate bounced-check fee totals.
Tip: Contemporary checking accounts offer a number of ways to keep track of your balance and avoid overdrafts, including cell phone text and e-mail alerts that tell you when your balance gets below a certain point, says McBride. Failing that, many banks allow you to set up a link between your checking and savings accounts that will allow your bank to tap your savings account to meet any shortfall for a nominal fee.