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Avoiding Bank Fees

Last year when some big banks announced they would start charging fees for debit cards, customers threatened to take their money elsewhere. Many banks got the message, and dropped the idea.

But that doesn't mean they may not try other ways to make money off of customers. Angie's List has some advice on avoiding banks fees.

In just about any purse or wallet, you're going to see a debit card. In a recent Angie's List poll, 50 percent of respondents said they use their debit card everyday.

"That's why so many were outraged last year, when some major banks announced they would impose a monthly debit card fee", says Angie Hicks of Angie's List. Even though most banks dropped those plans, Hicks says it's still a good idea to watch your bank statement closely.

"It's important to be reviewing your bank statements or any literature you're receiving from your bank so that you can see notification ahead of time and change your habits or change your bank," according to Hicks.

And if you're considering switching banks, do some homework. Make sure it's a change for the better. Talk with someone at that financial institution first, about fees, and policies.

If you can, keep some extra cash in your account, even if it's only a small amount. That extra cash cushion could also keep you from racking up bank fees.

Certified Financial Planner Susan Elser adds,"I see overdraft charges as a problem for all income brackets for not maintaining enough cash in their bank account, so boosting your cash reserves may also help you avoid these fees, which I see among the steepest bank charges."

Other fees that could add up include ones for using out-of-network ATM's and not maintaining a minimum balance.


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