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Back to Basics: Stop Paying Bank Fees

Banks collected $39 billion in account fees and penalties last year, but the American Bankers Association says 52 percent of consumers don't spend anything on bank fees each month. So what does the other half know that you don't?

Consumer Reports suggests looking for a large bank with plenty of ATMs at convenient locations so you don't get suckered into paying ATM fees, which can add up quickly. You should also take advantage of the no-fee cash back options at grocery and drug stores. Buy the $1 pack of gum you want anyway and get $20 cash back instead of spending $4 on a foreign bank ATM fee.

Of course, before you settle on a bank you should shop around. Make sure the bank has branches near your office, home and areas you frequent, as well as free checking and reasonable overdraft policies.


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aimeeb aimeeb 6 years
I refuse to pay these fees.
Spectra Spectra 6 years
I barely ever use the ATM, but when I do, I ALWAYS pick one from my bank so I don't have to pay a fee. The ONE time I had to pay an ATM fee was the time I was at the hospital with my parents visiting my sick grandpa. On the way back to the car, my parents realized they had no cash for the parking lot attendant. They don't have a debit card, so they asked me if I could get cash from the hospital ATM, which wasn't from my had a $3 fee! I was kind of ticked off, but my dad offered to pay me back the fee plus the money we had to pay for the parking. But yeah, ATM fees are like throwing your money away because they are totally unnecessary and you can avoid them if you're careful.
krys786 krys786 6 years
Does anyone use PNC? I was pleasantly surprised to see that I get about 75% of my ATM fees reimbursed by them, even if I'm using one of those random ATMs like the ones found at bars, rest stops, etc. The money shows up in my account as "non-PNC ATM fee reimbursement" about 5-7 days after the withdrawal.
colleen-stg colleen-stg 6 years
Ditto the Credit union comment. You can use any credit union ATM (even if it's not your CU) without a fee. And LOTS of CU now have accounts that refund you $25 a month in ATM fees. So if BofA or Wachovia charges you, your CU will refund you the cost. Example?
ilanac13 ilanac13 6 years
this is definitely one of those smart things to think about. living in NYC sometimes you just want to find the fastest solution if you're out or going to a bar so you suck it up and pay the fee, but if your'e able to cash it back - then do it!
SDTransplant SDTransplant 6 years
I bank with a credit union, and though they don't have any ATMs where I currently live, I've been able to get around paying ATM fees because the credit union is part of the COOP network and that means I can take money out of COOP-branded ATMs (found at all 7-11s, which are everywhere!) fee-free. It's great.
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