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Consumer Reports Offers Tips To Avoid Paying Bank Fees

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(Photo Credit: CBS)

(Photo Credit: CBS)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The country’s biggest bank – Bank of America – just announced it’s going to start charging $5 a month to customers who use their debit card for purchases.

It’s the latest in a series of new bank fees that are creeping onto customers’ statements.

When reviewing your bank statement, look carefully for fees. Some banks like Bank of America are looking for new ways to extract more money in fees from their customers.

After having lost money because of bad loans, the economy and new regulations, some banks see their customers as way to make up for the losses.

“The latest blow to banks are new rules, that virtually cut in half the fee that large banks can charge retailers when people pay with their debit cards,” says Greg Daugherty of Consumer Reports.

While some banks have already ended their debit card rewards program, Bank of America says it will now charge $5 a month to customers who use their debit cards for purchases.

Local banks like PNC, Citizens, First Niagara, and Huntington say they have no plan at the moment to follow Bank of America’s example.

But bank customers here are not immune from fees.

Citizens Bank recently started charging a fee even to get the traditional paper statement of your own bank account.

Consumer Reports Money Adviser says there are ways you can avoid being nickel and dimed.

First, even if it looks like junk mail, read all bank correspondence, including the fine print, to keep on top of new fees.

And, if you’re a longtime customer or have large deposits — negotiate. You might be able to get a better deal or have certain fees waived.

“If there’s no way around higher fees, consider moving your account. Good places to consider are local banks, credit unions, and online banks,” adds Daugherty.

Consumer reports says one online bank to consider — Ally Bank — offers no-fee, interest-bearing, checking accounts — but be sure to check out banks here in Pittsburgh.

Growing competition here has broadened consumer options.

There can be quite a difference among local banks here when it comes to fees.

Lately, each has touted certain advantages they have over the others.

That can range from free checking — to using other banks ATMs with no charge — to a grace period for overdrafts.

If you are unhappy at all about the fees your current bank charges, shop around.

At least in Pittsburgh, you have some choices.

RELATED LINKS:
Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports: “5 tips for avoiding bank fees as Bank of America unveils $5 monthly debit card fee”
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