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Finance Experts Urge You to Avoid These 7 Types of Fees

[Wednesday, July 9th, 2014]

No one likes paying fees. Bank fees, credit card fees, overdue fees, library fees, and school fees — the list of annoying charges that crop up in everyday life goes on and on.

But Take Charge America, Inc., a nonprofit credit counseling and debt management agency, is arming consumers with the power of knowledge. Their financial experts have made a list of seven common types of fees to be on the lookout for.

Print out this list, put it on your refrigerator, and keep an eye on your accounts for the following fees:

  1. Checking account fees. These can include monthly access fees, per-check fees, and other fees just for using a checking account. Online banks and credit unions are good options if you’re looking for a truly fee-free checking account.
  2. Low balance fees. When your funds are running low, the last thing you need is for your bank to take a bite out of the balance you’ve got left. But that’s exactly what many banks do. When your balance falls below a set minimum amount, you may incur a fee. Look for an account that has no minimum balance requirement.
  3. Inactivity fees. Watch out for this one if you have multiple accounts and don’t use one or more of them often. A fee may be automatically deducted from an inactive account. Close the account or change banks if your bank charges this fee.
  4. ATM fees. We know. Sometimes, you get stuck in a place where you can’t easily get to an in-network ATM. But there are ways around this. Use your debit card to buy something at a convenience store that gives cash back. Alternatively, find a bank or credit union that reimburses foreign ATM fees.
  5. Overdraft fees. Again, when you’re struggling to make ends meet, being slapped with a fee adds insult to injury. Keep track of your balance carefully to make sure that a bounced check or returned payment doesn’t cause you to incur an overdraft fee.
  6. Credit card fees. Annual fees are often worth paying if your card gives great rewards like free flights, hotel stays, or high-percentage cash back rewards. But watch out for balance transfer fees, over limit fees, late payment fees and other penalties.
  7. Extended warranty fees. Paying for an extended warranty is, more often than not, a waste of money. Instead, use a credit card that offers purchase protection and no-fee extended warranties.
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