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Greg McBride

Fighting mad about bank fees?

By Greg McBride ·
Friday, October 14, 2011
Posted: 1 pm ET

Lots of consumers are fighting mad about rising bank fees. Here are some ways to fight back:

If you don't want to pay to use a debit card, you can resort to other methods of payment such as cash, checks or even your credit card. A lot of credit card rewards programs are far more generous than what you see on debit cards. If that's not going to work for you, if you're really tied to using your debit card and you're going to be charged a fee, then take your business elsewhere. There are plenty of smaller community banks, credit unions and online banks that are exempt from this recent regulatory change, so they're not going to be instituting debit card fees. 

Overdraft fees take the biggest bite, but they're really the most easily avoided. The key is, you have to know what's in your account before you initiate transactions. So take advantage of the 24/7 online and mobile account access you have. Make sure you have enough money in the account available for withdrawal before you initiate transactions. Because anybody can slip up once, your lowest-cost line of defense is to set up a link between your checking account and your savings account. That way, it's your money that will cover any shortfall in the event you overdraw the account. 

And as far as free checking, look, free checking isn't going to go away completely. It's still out there, but you're either going to have to work for it, or you're going to have to search around and take your business elsewhere. Something as simple as setting up direct deposit could be enough to get that monthly fee waived. And then again, a lot of those smaller community banks, credit unions and online banks will remain viable alternatives for free checking.

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1 Comment
November 01, 2011 at 11:41 pm

I have been with Bank Of America for 23 years and was happy with them till now.i am on SSA and I cant and wont pay a $5.00 fee to use my debit card it is now fair.Because Bank of America couldn't manage their bank right is not the consumers fault and we as consumers should not have to help them get out of the mess they got them selves into.If I have to pay the $5.00 a month fee I will close my account in a heart beat.