Bill Nugent says when reviewing his bank statement, he discovered he was being charged a 25-dollar fee for a line of credit he says he never even applied for. Bill Nugent, "You really should look at your bank statements, because there may be fees you're being charged for that you're not even aware of." Bill ended up consolidating several accounts to avoid the 25-dollar fee. Consumer Reports Money Adviser says being proactive is key in the war against escalating bank fees. Banks have lost billions of dollars as a result of bad loans, the weak economy, and recent regulatory changes, and they're looking to recoup some of that money. "The latest blow to banks are new rules, that virtually cut in half the fee that large banks can charge retailers when people pay with their debit cards."
Even before the debit-card rule went into effect, certain banks -- including USAA Bank, Chase, and U.S. Bank -- announced they will stop offering debit-card rewards for most customers. And what if you lose your debit card? Bank of America is now charging some customers five dollars to replace it. But Consumer Reports Money Adviser says there are ways you can avoid being nickel and dimed. First, even if it looks like junk mail, read all bank correspondence, including the fine print, to keep on top of new fees. And, if you're a longtime customer or have large deposits -- negotiate. You might be able to get a better deal or have certain fees waived. Greg Daugherty, "If there's no way around higher fees, consider moving your account. Good places to consider are local banks, credit unions, and online banks." Consumer Reports says one online bank to consider -- ---- Ally Bank -- offers no-fee, interest-bearing, checking accounts. ."