It’s been a while since I wrote last about how banks are should be the ones to pay you, and not the other way around.
So some things have changes since then.
For example – the the CARD Act. This is a new law that limits the credit card companies and banks on what fees they can charge and how they can make changes. This is part of the government efforts to strict the regulation of the financial sector, which I personally am all in favor of.
But for banks this was a direct hit on their income, and the earn a lot from fees. So what did they do (and continue doing)? That’s right – raised the fees that were not covered by the Act, and invented some new ones.
So how do we manage that? Avoid the fees and fees-triggering situations and operations.
1. ATM withdrawal – Some banks have raised the fees for using ATM’s that don’t belong to them, and for using their ATM’s for clients of other banks.
2. Account Maintenance – For several years the main sales pitch of all the banks was “free checking”. Now that is changing. For example, this CNN article claims that some of the banks raised the account maintenance fees significantly, and added maintenance fees to accounts which were until now free. For example many new fees were imposed on the Wachovia customers, by the new owner – Wells Fargo. Which banks didn’t change the fees? Chase and Discovery, as mentioned by CNN. Worth to know. Chase, however, did stop opening the “Forever Free Checking” accounts that they inherited from WaMu.
3. Credit Card Fees – Do you have a credit card that charges maintenance fee or membership fee? I don’t, and I don’t think anyone should have. If you do have those – think again, maybe it is not worth paying for, and you could be better of with a free card which also pays you back for usage, like the American Express Blue Cash.
Bottom line, as always – do your homework and shop around. If you’re paying a fee – it’s either because you’re very rich and generous, or that other reason no-one likes hearing.
So happy banking,
Your Little Advisor