Brace Yourself, Don’t Get Hit By Credit Card and Bank Fees

Everyone is feeling the pinch from the economic turmoil overshadowing the nation. Consumer confidence, spending, and relying on credit cards for purchases are down and big financiers are feeling the pain. According to Market Watch, both banks and credit card issuers are “imposing new fees and charges” that will be passed onto unsuspecting consumers.

Right now many American’s are struggling to pay either off existing debt, save cash, or minimize their overall savings. With less spending activity, there is less profit to be made by the financial institutions so fees are the biggest contributing factor to filling the gaping hole being left by improved consumer spending habits. According to The Hammer Firm: late fees, loan origination, over-the-limit and overdraft charges contributed to a substantial 53% of all the banking industry’s 2008 income and the trend is increasing.

Market Watch advises consumers to be especially wary of the following 10 fees:

  1. Overdraft: By bouncing a check a whole slew of financial events can unravel and leave you bearing the financial burden. Establishing overdraft protection on your account will help mitigate the damage
  2. Deposit returned: Rubber checks issued by someone else and deposited into your account will cost you. During these trying times there are more scams featuring bad checks so only taking checks from trusted sources is a smart idea.
  3. Checking: By signing up for a free checking account and checking the fine print carefully, you can easily avoid hidden fees.
  4. Teller: As more people use ATM machines these days, people are less aware of teller fees – however, some banks limit how many actual teller visits an account holder can have and if you go over the limit allowed you would be charged with excessive use of tellers for your transactions.
  5. Inquiries: Those wanting to be on top of their finances may be charged for this luxury. By using the telephone too often to check on transactions, order new checks, and other inquiries you may get saddled with a fee.
  6. Closing accounts: The money that consumers deposit at the bank is then used by the financial institution to conduct their business. If you open an account and close it quickly (anywhere up to a six month period) they may charge you since they were counting on using the money you had on deposit.
  7. Credit cards: Grace periods of even 24 hours may become a thing of the past and issuers are sure  to increase their late fees, interest, and over-limit charges to the new legal maximums.
  8. Annual: Annual charges for the “privilege” of being a card holder are making a comeback so make sure your credit card company don’t adopt this type of money making concept.
  9. Currency conversions: If you’re traveling and out of the country when you use your credit card you may be charged with conversion fees. However, you may not even notice this because the fee is already being included as part of the charge.
  10. ATM: Already a sore spot with consumers, those who use out of network ATM’s may get hit by dual charges both by your card issuer and the ATM provider.

For those concerned about additional fees and charges that may be coming your way, only by taking proactive measures can you avoid these fees. Read all information that comes from your credit card company, stay on top of your assets on deposit, and when taking advantage of “free”or promotional offers be very clear regarding the dates and terms involved with the agreement.