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Check your email for bank fees

By David McMillin · Bankrate.com
Friday, September 2, 2011
Posted: 12 pm ET

As more bank fees pop up in the face of financial reform, reading emails from your financial institution is more essential than ever before.

Soon, PNC's checking account holders will get one of these essential reminders in their inboxes. Beginning Sept. 12, the bank's Free Checking account holders will no longer enjoy the privilege of ATM fee reimbursements when using out-of-network machines. Customers enrolled in the bank's Virtual Wallet account will need to upgrade their services in order to qualify for unlimited reimbursements on ATM charges, too.

While I'm sure all of these customers were properly notified earlier in the year, this kind of notice isn't exactly a PR spokesperson's dream. It probably won't make the headlines on your bank's homepage. Banks are required to notify customers of changes to account terms, but how they inform them is their decision. I'm willing to bet they won't ask their customer service reps to give you a personal phone call.

For account holders who receive paperless statements, missing the bad news can be easy. Oftentimes, these messages can be bundled with other announcements, or the bank's marketing department can spin these into positive messages that promote new account tools. I occasionally get notices that actually require me to log into my online banking folder to read the rest of the message. With more websites to visit and more passwords to enter, reading the message becomes less likely.

If you're like me, emails can easily fall through the cracks. Translation: I scan them for a few seconds and move on to the next message in my inbox. This is a dangerous habit to apply to your personal finances, though. If you fail to stay in-the-know about what’s happening at your bank, you can miss out on everything from new bank fees to privacy notices to rewards opportunities.

How do you feel about your bank's communication strategies? Do you mark notifications as urgent? Or are you guilty of ignoring your personal banking updates?

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