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How to avoid annoying and expensive bank fees

Simple fees can cost hundreds of dollars a year
ATM card skimming incidents up 546 percent
Posted at 4:00 AM, Feb 15, 2023

With prices as high as they are on so many things this year, no one wants to throw away money on unnecessary fees.

But have you ever gotten money from an ATM and wondered why you have to pay money just to get your money?

Out-of-network ATM charges are just one of many bank fees that people complain about.

Jerry George says he has been hit by annoying monthly fees.

"$80 for a monthly fee," he said.

Megan Polinsky says she's been hit with overdraft fees that then compounded.

"It is ridiculous," she said. "Sometimes it's been $100, sometimes it's been $200."

How to avoid annoying fees

So what can you do to avoid these fees?

For basic checking and savings accounts, Nathan Grant of MoneyTips.com says the most common fees are:

  • Insufficient funds fees.
  • Overdraft fees.

Grant says both can be avoided by maintaining a minimum balance.

"Look into things like low-balance alerts," he said. "So you could get like a heads up if you're nearing that point where the fees could take place."

Grant says to come up with a number you always want in your account.

Also, he says to ask your bank about "overdraft protection."

Another pesky fee you can avoid:

  • Late credit card fees.

Grant says to avoid late payment fees on your credit cards by setting up automatic payments for at least the minimum.

If you have rent or other big payments due at the start of the month, ask the issuer about changing the due date.

"If you move it to later in the month when you have another pay period, you might be able to put more down on the card and not just pay the minimum," he said.

Other fees to avoid:

  • Annual credit card fees.

If you're paying an annual fee for a credit card, calculate whether the benefits outweigh the cost.

  • Balance transfer fees.

If you're looking to transfer debt from one card to another, transfer your balance within a promotional period to avoid balance transfer fees.

Grant's last tip: It never hurts to ask if a fee can be waived.

"If it's not a pattern, it's not something you do all the time."

Because George, like most of us, doesn't like surprises.

"I hate them," he said.

And that way you don't waste your money.

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