Stock photo of woman using ATM cash machine Credit: Yuri Arcurs, Getty Images GETTY ID#: 84304284 / Yuri Arcurs/Getty Images
Banking fees are on our minds these days, what with Bank of America’s plan — now scrapped — to levy a monthly $5 debit card fee.
But there still are a rash of bank fees in place — many of which you can avoid. Here’s how:
Use ATMs intelligently.
Many cash machines slap on a fee if you’re outside a bank’s network. Know where your bank’s ATMs are and make a point of using them exclusively.
Read your mail.
Banks notify you beforehand when they will be instituting new fees or raising existing ones. “If new fees are added, you want to know about it ahead of time,” says Beverly Blair Herzog, credit card expert for Credit.com. If a new fee is added, ask whether it applies to you and, if so, what you can do to avoid it.
Ask about other exemptions.
Some banks eliminate fees if you maintain a minimum balance, says Herzog. Others forgo fees if you have several accounts. Before using any service, such as counter checks or reactivating a closed account, ask if there’s a charge.
Vote with your feet.
If your bank’s fees seem unreasonable, shop around. In particular, says Herzog, investigate credit unions, “which usually have lower fees and great customer service.”