Angie's List: Watch for these new bank fees in 2012

Angie's List

Remember the customer outrage over Bank of America's plan to charge a monthly fee to have a debit card? That idea soon ended up on the scrap heap.

But many banks will be quietly increasing other fees in 2012, according to our partners at the consumer guide Angie's List.

So don't toss those letters from your bank that look like junk mail. It may be detailing a new fee.

Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List, said it's important to review your bank statements or any literature you receive from your bank, so you can see notification ahead of time, and potentially change your habits or change your bank."

New fees hitting bank customers

Angie says among the new bank charges to watch for:

    --New checking account fees.
    --Higher fees for using out of network ATM's.
    --Costlier paper checks.
    --Safe deposit price hikes.

The biggest of these are checking account fees, now $15 a month at many banks. Some customers have fled big banks for credit unions, to avoid these fees.

Avoid with minimum balance

But financial counselors say at most banks, if you keep a certain minimum balance, such as $1,000 you can avoid most fees.
 
"I do think that having cash emergency reserves helps an awful lot of people avoid a number of problems, and its turning out that this may also help you avoid bank fees," said Certified Financial Planner Susan Elser.

Bottom line: ask your bank what it takes to avoid a checking account fee, and use an out of network ATM only in emergencies. That way you don't waste your money.

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Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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