2011 was the year of the bank fees. Almost every national bank put out a proposal to raise bank fees and other types of charges. Now that it is 2012, let’s make it the year where you stop paying exorbitant bank fees. I stopped paying Wells Fargo’s Dumb Fees, and you should stop paying your bank’s as well.
Although some banks have killed their fees, some common fees still remain:
Checking Account Minimum Fees: I hate being told how much I can keep in a checking account, and I would never want to be subject to charges should my balance fall below this specific amount. However, it is one of the most common fees out there. Many banks put minimums, such as $50 or $100, but some banks really up the amount to $1000 or more (usually for business accounts).
Checking Account Fees should be the first to go in 2012. There are a lot of nationwide banks and local credit unions that offer FREE checking. And for the most part, it is truly 100% free checking. If you don’t have a truly free checking account, change now!
Overdraft Fees: This is probably the most common bank fee out there – the dreaded overdraft fee. Banks actually consider it a short-term loan, and that “fee” is actually interest on the loan. Well, if you’ve ever paid your bank this fee, its time to stop and find a bank that offers you free overdraft protection. Many banks still offer this.
Beyond overdraft protection, many banks also offer you a link to your savings account or even a credit card, to which any overdrafts will be transferred from. If you don’t have this option, find a bank who does! There are many of these as well!
Bottom line, if you haven’t checked your bank’s fee structure lately, now is the time. If you’re not happy with it, there are a lot of great banks and credit unions out there that don’t charge fees!
Readers, what are your thoughts on bank fees in 2012? More of them coming? More banks offering free/discounted services?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.