Big banks begin charging for debit cards

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It looks like charging for checking account and the debit cards that go with them is going to start becoming the norm, at least for large national banks. I’m Claes Bell with the personal finance minute.

Recently, a number of large national banks rolled out new fees for carrying debit cards or for simply holding a checking account, including Regions Bank, Bank of America, Sun Trust and Citibank. Others, including JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo, are testing debit card fees in small markets.

With all these new fees flying around, you might want to keep an eye on your mailbox. Your bank has to send you a new fee schedule whenever they boost your fees. Alternatively, keeping a close eye on your account online should help you sniff them out.

If you find a new fee and aren’t willing to pay, you may want to try going in to a branch and talking to a customer service representative. There may be some conditions you can meet that will help you avoid paying, including keeping a certain balance or signing up for other bank services.

If your bank isn’t willing to deal, feel free to shop around. Many credit unions, community banks and online banks are aggressively pushing their free checking accounts right now in response to the big banks’ boosting fees.

For more on this and other personal finance topics, visit I’m Claes Bell.