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12 financial tips for 2012

Keep an eye on new banking fees
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Keep an eye on new banking fees

Banks have been making headlines nationwide by introducing a variety of new checking and debit card fees.

The best way to make sure you don't end up paying new banking fees without knowing it is keeping a close eye on your monthly statements, says Soifer.

Any fees deducted by your bank will show up there in black and white, and the same envelope that carries your monthly statement may also carry a key tool for tracking your banking fees: a fee disclosure.

Federal regulations require banks to send out new fee disclosures to customers ahead of fee hikes, so if you find a fee disclosure tucked away in a letter from your bank, you can be pretty sure you'll find higher fees than you're used to inside.

"Make sure you read those statement stuffers carefully," says Soifer. "Many of us have thrown out those in the past because they look like ads, but, in fact, that's where the fee disclosures are."

If you think you missed out on your latest fee schedule, you can always look it up online or go into a branch and request a schedule, which banks are required to make available to customers upon request, says Viveca Ware, senior vice president of regulatory policy for the Independent Community Bankers of America.
-- Claes Bell


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