Simple steps to avoid hit from growing bank fees

Simple steps to avoid hit from growing bank fees

Granted, such fees are still easily avoided.

According to an American Bankers Association survey, 55 percent of consumers said they paid nothing in monthly bank fees—although that’s down from 59 percent in 2011.

“Typically they’ll waive those fees or reduce them for a stronger banking relationship,” said Gerri Detweiler, director of consumer education at There’s still enough variation on fees by account and bank that it’s worth shopping around for an account that fits your needs and minimizes charges.

Plus, many of the fees on banks’ rosters are ones that consumers can expect to encounter rarely, if at all, said Odysseas Papadimitriou, chief executive of For example, a counter check fee, which is a charge for a check provided at the branch, or a chargeback fee, which reverses an earlier outbound transfer of money.

If you are charged, there’s a good chance you can talk your way out of it. A recent survey found 44 percent of consumers have had a bank fee reversed after they complained, with the most success on overdraft fees.

(Read more: US banks turn to subprime auto loans as delinquencies fall)

That’s good news, because overdraft fees—which average $ 35—continue to surprise consumers. A 2012 study from The Pew Charitable Trusts found that 54 percent of people who had been charged an overdraft fee said they hadn’t opted in to bank programs allowing them to overdraw their account.

“That shows to us there’s this rampant amount of confusion out there about how the system works,” said Susan Weinstock, director of Pew’s Safe Checking initiative.

Personal Finance


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