Consumer Reports Offers Tips To Avoid Paying Bank Fees

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.

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

More from Jon Delano

One Comment

  1. JustSaying says:

    Here’s the best tip of all: dump the banks and go with a credit union. They offer the same services as the banks but they are either free or MUCH more reasonable than ANY bank! Banks hate credit unions because they can’t compete with them. Banks are expected to earn money for their shareholders while credit unions control costs and earn money for their members. Check it out!

  2. Tom Hartley says:

    Jon, you obviously did not serve in the military!

    What about USAA!? This is the best online bank there is.
    USAA Bank Reaffirms Its ‘Fee-losophy’ of Free Debit, Free Checking
    Posted on Sep 29, 2011 | Category: Latest News

    In an environment with some major banks making plans to charge customers new monthly fees for using their debit cards, USAA Bank announced today it has no plans to add fees to its debit card. USAA Bank remains committed to offering a free checking account — and free debit card — with superior features such as:

    Free checking — No monthly service fees regardless of balance.
    Free nationwide ATM use — First 10 ATM withdrawals are free, and if another bank charges, we’ll refund up to $15 of their bank fees each month.
    Deposit options — Make a deposit through one of more than 2,000 UPS Store® locations, and qualifying members can also deposit checks from home, an iPhone® or Android™ phone.
    Free online and mobile banking — Check balances, transfer funds and pay bills using a computer, smartphone, iPad® or
    Free USAA® Money Manager — Track spending with a personal budgeting tool.

    “USAA Bank is committed to maintaining a free checking account with as many member benefits as possible, and that includes a free debit card,” says David Bohne, president USAA Federal Savings Bank. USAA also makes it easy to compare checking account features with its major competitors with information on its website.

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Play It
Get The All New CBS Local App

Listen Live