Are you tired of fees? Of course, you are. Aren’t we all? It’s almost impossible to sign up for anything these days without coming across annoying fees. Sure, banks and credit card companies have to make money somehow, but some fees are simply becoming unreasonable. To make things worse, banks and credit card companies seem to raise them every year. For tips on how to avoid, reduce, and even reverse 6 of the most aggravating, fist-clenching, forehead-slapping fees, keep reading.
The ATM Fee
What Is It? This is the fee you pay to use an ATM at another bank. Some banks charge you for going out of its network, and the ATM owner may tack on an additional surcharge. As a result, you may incur fees up to $3.00 at some machines. This really adds up over and time, and more importantly, it really gets on your nerves.
What To Do If your bank’s ATM isn’t nearby, you can get cash back when making a debit card purchase to avoid this fee. You could also open an account at a bank that offers ATM rebates. Another option is to simply ask your current bank if they’ll waive the fees.
The Late Fee
What Is It? The fee you are charged when your bill payment doesn’t arrive by the due date. The actual fee will vary by institution, but for most of my accounts, it falls in the $30 to $40 range.
What To Do What’s annoying about this fee is that sometimes it happens because of a stupid mistake. Fortunately, financial institutions realize this and if you’re late once or twice, they will usually waive the fee. Just call them and ask. To avoid being late again, set up automatic payments if possible. This saves you money on postage too. For the old-timers still using snail mail, be sure to send your check 7 to 10 days before the due date.
The Over-Limit Fee
What Is It? The charge for overdrawing your checking account or going over the limit on your credit card. These fees continue to rise, and most banks allow you overspend and then slap you with the fee.
What To Do Talk to your bank and request that ATM withdrawals, debit purchases, and checks only be approved if there are sufficient funds in your account. Some banks will let you do this. Another option is to link your checking account to a line of credit, commonly referred to as overdraft protection. At many banks, it’s also possible to set up email or text message alerts if your balance runs low.
The Monthly Service Fee
What Is It? This is the fee for dipping below the minimum balance on an interest checking account.
What To Do Avoid interest checking accounts with monthly service fees. These are usually your traditional savings accounts that have ridiculously low interest rates, so get with the times and open a high-yield savings account. Move your savings into one of these and say goodbye to outrageous monthly service fees forever.
The Foreign Currency Fee
What Is It? When you use a credit card or withdraw money from an ATM abroad, your bank charges a foreign transaction fee. This fee has shot up in recent years. A few years ago, I traveled abroad, and American Express didn’t charge foreign transaction fees. Now you can expect to pay at least 2% on foreign transaction fees.
What To Do Even after the fee, credit cards and ATMs typically give you the best conversion rate. Some banks don’t charge a fee for ATM withdrawals overseas, so check with your bank to find out. For credit card purchases, find out which one of your cards has the lowest fee and use it for your purchases.
Text Messaging Fee
What Is It? The fee that wireless companies charge you to send and receive text messages on your cell phone. Back in the day, you could receive text messages for free, but now it’s around 10 cents for every message sent or received. Some people don’t like text messaging, but if you’re a college student, you probably do it. I find text messaging really convenient — useful feature, annoying fee.
What To Do Unfortunately, I don’t know any way around this fee. If anyone has suggestions, please share. There are ways to reduce the fee though. If you send text messages regularly, you can probably save some money by going with one of the bundles offered by your wireless carrier . Depending on how many messages you send/receive a month, you’ll want to compare your options and choose the appropriate bundle.