Bank fees: beyond the typical charges

When it comes to banking--what's your number one gripe?

We found bank fees are a top consumer complaint.

The amounts vary from bank to bank, and now, there are brand new funky fees to be on the lookout for beyond the typical charges.

  • A flat $25 per month fee so your bank won't charge you each time you use an out-of-network ATM machine. That's just one new fee popping up at some financial institutions.
  • A $5 fee to replace a missing debit card.  $20 if you want it rushed.
  • A charge to use a human teller.
  • For a dollar a month, you can go straight to the front of the phone line, skipping other callers on hold.
  • And it could cost you another dollar if you want one of those ATM mini statement print outs. 

Banks say they disclose all their fees. They're in those documents you get when you open an account, and in those disclosures that show up in the mail.

But be aware: If whatever the bank mails you regarding your checking account gets sent back, you could pay a six dollar fee for that, too! 

Banks are really struggling to find ways to make money off their checking deposits so they're experimenting with new things," says Claes Bell of Bankrate.com

Banks lost billions when congress capped the amount they could charge businesses for ‘debit card swipe fees'.

The American Bankers Association, or ABA, says they still need to cover costs for things like each checking account.

"Some consultants estimate its between $250-$300 dollars a year, and those costs have to be recovered. And the costs aren't just for providing statements and processing transactions.  It's also for preventing fraud, protecting privacy," says Nessa Feddis of the American Bankers Association.

The ABA points out 59% of consumers pay no banks fees at all. And, it adds, those who do are usually paying for convenience--just like paying to board a plane first, or paying to use a hotel room mini bar.

Experts say if you don't like the fees at your bank--shop around and find a new place to put your money.

But caution here, we found some banks hit you with a $25 fee if you close an account within six months of opening it!

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