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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

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Save money by not getting tripped up by banking fees.  Live frugally!In case you haven’t heard, new banking legislation that limits fees banks can charge for certain things has prompted banks to create new fees to cover their losses. 

With new changes and fees, lets look at how to save on banking fees in general.

Credit Union vs. Bank

In terms of saving money there are some big differences between credit unions and banks that you might want to consider.   The biggest difference is in “ownership”. Credit Unions are non-profit organizations that are owned by their customers.  Banks are generally for profit corporations.

One would think that being member owned the Credit Union would be the better deal, but you do you need to remember that large banks can have perks just based on the size of their influence.
In terms of fees it is good to look into both options.  Realize too that the “in” way to market checking accounts is to call them “free checking” etc.  As we all learned in grade school nothing in life is really free, so make sure you ask to learn about any hidden fees that may (or may not) apply to you.

Some questions to ask:

  • Is a Monthly Balance Required?
  • Is a Direct Deposit Required?
  • How many checks per month can you write?
  • How many checks per month can you deposit?
  • What are the fees for any additional deposits/withdrawals?  (One bank we used charged 25¢ per check over 10 checks per month)
  • Are there any free ATM’s to use?
  • Is there an extra fee to use a foreign ATM? (Meaning I use an ATM in the mall and am charged $2 at the ATM will the bank also charge a fee for this withdrawal… many do)
  • Do you have any overdraft protections that are free?  (some credit unions give you free overdraft protection up to a certain amount)
  • Is there a monthly fee for online banking, debit cards or other resources?

Ways To Save On Fees

  1. Shop around.
    Just like buying a car, you can’t expect the best deal just walking into the first bank and signing up.
  2. There is compromise room.
    Tell the bank that you are looking around, mention what you are seeing in other areas that you like along with things you like at their institution.  Many of them do have the ability to waive a few fees here and there, so it never hurts to ask!
  3. Consider ATM network size and fees strongly.
    The largest bank fees paid by most consumers are ATM fees.  If you have the choice between a small bank with 3 “fee free” ATM’s versus a larger Credit Union or Bank with a nationwide network of of free ATM’s, this is a huge difference.  The average ATM fee for 2011 is around $2.40 according to Bankrate.com.
  4. Use cash back features at grocery stores.
    A simple way to avoid ATM fees is to not use them completely.  If you are running into the grocery store to buy milk and need cash for a future errand, get your cash with your purchase to save on any ATM fees.  Buy something, it’s better than paying $2 or more for absolutely nothing.
  5. Don’t bounce checks.
    I know sometimes accidents happen, but this is a lot worse than forgetting to return a library book on time.  The average overdraft fee for 2011 is around $30.  If you bounce one check a month that could be a cost of $360 a year!!  If things are tight, look into a Credit Union or bank that offers an overdraft protection account to protect yourself from unending fees.
  6. Have a paycheck direct deposited.
    This is the number one thing that financial institutions love.  If you are able to have a direct deposit this can make you eligible for better accounts, and even make them waive more fees on other items.
  7. Keep a cushion in your account.
    This is more a personal tip than a professional one… but I want you to put an extra hundred dollars in your checking account and then forget that it is there.  Do not put it into your checkbook register, don’t think about it.  Believe wholeheartedly that your account is $100 less than the monthly statement shows.  This way you have built in your own protection from overdraft.  Train yourself to not think about so that you don’t quickly fall back on it being there.

Do you have any other tips for avoiding bank fees?
Or ideas to help with picking a bank/credit union?

    • Anonymous

      We use Etrade for our checking account.  They don’t charge a single fee.  They even reimburse you for atm fees that are charged when you use an atm.  The down side is there isn’t a local branch to go to so if you need to deposit a check you have to mail it (we get ours direct deposit to avoid this).  It is awesome to not pay a single fee though!  We did set up a small savings account at a local bank just to have a local branch to go to in case we need something.  

      • Michellebg1212

        we are doing the same thing but with ING

        • Beth Anne Saves

          I just opened an ING Direct account and I love it! It’s also a mastercard vs visa so it makes me feel important. I was trying to wait till I got a job to close out my Bank of America checking but I may have to do it sooner than later I can’t afford crazy fees!

          My mom opend an Ally. I can’t figure out which is better. Only bad things with these accounts is you have to mail in your checks to deposit. Although Ally is beta testing people scanning there checks in :)

          • Jeaninedms

            I have an Ally account and just started using scan feature; very easy.

        • ING ftw!! The bank I’ve had an account at for free for years just announced they’ll charge fees, so I’m leaving. I simply won’t pay fees for checking accounts. Period. Love ING!

      • leaz

        USAA does this BUT you have the ability to scan your checks to deposit them. I can even take a picture of my check with my iphone and have it deposited that way!! Cool!

      • Denise

        Yeah I’m thinking of doing that with Capital One.  Currently w/ B of A and you have to keep a balance of $1500 so you don’t get a $14 monthly fee now a charge for debit cards.  Not worth it I’m thinking.  I wonder if they are going to charge per card.

    • Lisatoolgirl

      I agree with the $100 hidden in your checking account but even better, i always round up on my withdrawal.s Example if the check is $27.75 i take out $30.00. It adds up quickely and in 15 years of doing this I have NEVER bounced a check. And in certain times when I needed extra help, i knew I had extra in my account and just brrowed from my surplus!!

      • CWW

        I have done the $100 cushion and it works great.

    • Anonymous

      Great post Jenny.  Thank you!

    • Tim_meives

      Suntrust is starting the same thing.  So in shopping around, found a credit union that is much better with no fees.  So gotta change.  Thanks for post Jenny.

    • Greenie

      BofAm is not charging for using the ATM machine. Also if you keep a balance of xxx$ and some other things, it does not apply. The charge, that is. We find that BofAm is a great bank to deal with.

    • Freemn4

      I pay all my bills on line to avoid having to buy checks adn I save on stamps.  I use a credit card for all my purchases and pay it off every month.  It is a rewards card so I earn free gift cards all the time just by using it instead of my debit card.

    • Tonya

      Regions Bank has just instituted a $3/month charge for debit card usage on my “free” checking account. Considering changing, but seems like most banks are headed in this direction.

      • tiffiny

        I would switch banks as soon as you can!!!! run from them!! I had a savings and checking from them.. I paid one of my bills online with my checkings account and they later charged me fees and put it through my savings. I went into the bank and tried to have them understand that i did not even know my savings account number and that i was not going to pay the charges they were charging me because i didn’t do them. She says, sorry we can’t do anything about that. I have a strong dislike for that bank.

      • Candice

        mine too, except our notice said $4 fee! Needless to say I haven’t used my debit card since and am looking for a new bank.

      • The Lunch Lady

        I got a notice in my statement that says that using my card for any debit or credit transaction would charge a $7 per month fee…..

      • Liz

        it’s $4 a month.

      • Liz

        also, you will only receive the fee if you use your debit card out and swipe if for purchases (which is the point lol).  BUT, you can use it at Regions’  ATMs and not incur the monthly fee.  so, just save it for getting out cash if you stay with them.  thanks to the government for all this. ugh.

    • Anonymous

      I have been a member of a credit union all my life and definitely believe it is the way to go.  I have never paid a fee of any sort and have always been helped when needed.  All my girls are set up with accounts too!

    • Lindsey

      Both Wells Fargo and FirstTN Bank have started charging a monthly fee unless your account and/or usage meets certain requirements. Just recently, I noticed that First TN will be implementing a charge for using debit/credit cards. This is terrible! Maybe I don’t have ALL the information, but why should I be charged for lending my savings to an institution? Shouldn’t banks be taking care of customers,NOT nickel-and-diming them? At this point, I’d feel safer burying my savings in the backyard.

    • Danielle

      Credit Unions are not “non-profit organizations,” as stated above. Instead, they are “not-for-profit businesses” which is a huge difference. A non-profit organation is typically 501(c) 3 organization which operate primarily off of donations and grants. A credit union (not-for-profit business) however, generates revenue much like a bank does and doesn’t receive donations or grants. Instead of giving any profits to share holders (like a bank), they give them to their member-owners (they are not customers) in the form of lower fees, loan interest rates, & higher yielding savings products, etc.

      • katie lake

        Credit Unions also allow you to earn dividends on accounts such as checking accounts which banks do not *usually* let you do. 

    • Lea_groshens

      We dropped bank of America 2 years ago when they started trying to trick their military bank customers into transferring from a free military account to their “new system” that you had to pay a monthly fee for. I refused to do it and they gradually took away our ability to use their ATMs for deposits and eventually for withdrawals (claiming it was a glitch in the ATM software). When I asked them WHY I should switch to their new system, they told me “so you can have one of our tellers assist you with your transactions!” I don’t WANT to talk to a teller, I WANT to use the ATM and you’ve taken away my ability to do so. I pulled ALL our accounts from BOA and have never looked back.

    • tiffiny

      bank of america, wells fargo, and chase are the best banks in orlando

    • Ian

      Word of warning: Overdraft protection accounts can be deceiving. For example, some banks will transfer money into an account if it goes negative, but they will charge a $12.50 fee to do it, which is about 2/5 the charge of an overdraft anyways. The best option is to turn off all forms of overdraft protection and choose to decline any transactions that would overdraft your account rather than overdrafting and charging you a fee. 

      Also, many banks will make your account free with a monthly transfer. They don’t normally bring this option up, but it is a great option. For example, there is a bank that is free with a $75 monthly recurring transfer into a savings account. You can just set it to transfer $75 into savings the day after your paycheck goes in, then transfer it back into checking the next day. It won’t overdraft your account if the funds aren’t available, so this is a good option.

      You also get fees for printing mini statements at the ATM. DON’T DO THIS! Just use online banking or mobile banking or go inside and ask for a printout.

      • Jlaleonard

        I agree “The best option is to turn off all forms of overdraft protection and
        choose to decline any transactions that would overdraft your account
        rather than overdrafting and charging you a fee”

        New laws were set to allow you to “opt out” and the banks hated this, so now they are trying to find new fees to charge everyone.

    • katie lake

      I am SO glad you wrote this post. I hate seeing people get ripped off by their financial institutions! I worked at a credit union a while back and learned so much about the differences. I had an account with Bank of America for over 10 years and closed it bc they were charging me $9/month bc I didn’t have a minimum balance of $3,000 (in my checking!!), didn’t have a direct deposit (not offered with my job), and wouldn’t let me have a student account even though I was a grad student bc I had one for four years as an undergrad. When I closed my acct they listed the reason as didn’t have enough money. That is seriously what they wrote on my account information. I told them I had the money but kept it at my credit union bc I earned .7% dividends compared to their .001% interest. 

      My suggestions to add would be check into their ATM policy. Bc my CU only has one location in our area they refund up to $15/month in ATM fees. Also most CUs in our area partner together to offer no ATM fees as long as you are using a CU ATM (even if it is a diff credit union). Now here is the big one. Lots of CUs offer automatic transfers from your savings acct to cover overdrafts for free up to 6 a month. A lot of this depends on the % of member assets they keep on hand. If your CU offers this I would suggest keeping that extra $100+ in your savings/share account so you can’t see it in your checking/share draft account. USAA is another great option for those with the military connection. Love USAA.

      • Courtneyd

        I am in the Army reserves and we do all our banking with USAA- it is amazing! I havbe banked with probaby 10+ banks throughout my life and in every aspect usaa is the best. You do not have to be in active duty military to become a member- if you have a grandparent who served you are eligible, etc.

        • KD

          We are USAA members now and I wanted everyone to know that you don’t have to have or be a member of the military to have accounts there. We aren’t a military family and have a checking account there. We don’t have access to all there services but we are very happy with them as compared to the 4 other “big banks” we had in the past.
          Try it out!

      • I agree on both accounts! One credit union I was apart of gave 5% interest on the first $500 in my CHECKING account. They’ve always been quick to reverese any fees and help with any problems. And a lot of credit unions do have either “shared branching” or “co-op atm’s.”  I once paid off my car loan from another credit union 4 hours away because I had moved. I make better interest with them, there are less fees, and you pay less interest on loans. Customer service is usually better as well!
        I also second USAA. I don’t use them for banking, but have insurance and a credit card and looked into them for a home loan, and seriously again some of the best customer service ever. We had to make an auto-claim when a person ran a stop sign and hit our car. They quickly had our car inspected and approved repairs, etc. not caring what the at fault driver’s insurance was doing. They dealt with the other insurance themselves. And their insurance rates have always been tons less then any other insurance company.

    • Zee

      Jenny, thanks for this post!!! I do have a question. I signed up for ING Direct when you had the promo up (around July 4th)…is there any way to re-read that post (an archive maybe?)   I got the first bonus, but I’d like to know when the second bonus will arrive and if I have met the requirements.

      • Anonymous

        You can search for ING Direct at the top of the page and it brings up all older posts.

      • Chris

        ING is such a great bank.  I’ve been with them for several years and LOVE them – they have no fees for checking or savings, no ATM or debit card fees, no overdraft fees, no online bill pay fees, and I even have an investment account with them not to mention they offer mortgages with great rates.  Granted there are no paper checks for their checking account but you don’t need them with all of the online payment options not to mention the debit card with free ATMs.

        Yes they were bought by CapitalOne, who I also have credit cards with, but according to ING and Cap1 they have no plans to change any of the ING features in the near future.  I’m actually looking forward to having by checking, savings, investment, and two credit cards all in one place – and may move my auto loan to them in about a year if I choose to refi (if rates are still lower than what I have now).

        If you’re looking I suggest seriously considering ING.

    • Wendykw_g

      During the Savings and Loan meltdown in the late ’80’s/early’90’s we switched to the credit union for all our banking.  Our S&L was one of the ones that failed.  We used to pay a $1 fee if they had to move money from our savings to checking to cover an overdraft.  They moved the money automatically to keep us from overdrawing our account, a wonderful service. Haven’t had an overdraw in years, so we don’t know if they still do that. We pay no fees for using a credit union ATM, and we are lucky to live near the credit union with another one close to my work.  The service is great, and I will never go back to using a regular bank. 

    • know1der

      I banked with Suntrust for a lot of years. When I received notice of the fee I switched to a smaller regional bank. I have free accounts (5). My checks are free. ATM, free. Debit card, free. The people are nice and they always know my name. It’s a hassle to change but this is one time each of us can vote with our dollars and make a difference. Smaller banks have earned our business simply by not taking a bailout and then paying huge bonuses. I hope everyone makes the change.

      • Price338

        I’m with a smaller bank too.  I learned years ago before these fees ever came up,  The smaller Banks serve people and small businesses.  The larger banks could care less to have our business, they are after the Giants, they could give a hoot if  us little people and small businesses go under.  The smaller banks do everything they can to service us and yes they are always friendly and respectful. The large banks, turn their noses up to us and our situations because they don’t give a good how do you do. They are very blatant in letting us know all they want is our money, the marketing done to pull people in is just bait. I would love to see the people withdraw from all of these large banks and put the small banks back in business so we can all get back to the business of living with a little peace of mind.

        • washington

          Well said…the bigger banks do not care about their customers and not interested in helping them. They are just after people to make money. And as far as employees, they don’t care about them either. It is all about making those referrals so they can make more money. I worked for 1 big bank and I absolutely hated it. I work for a small community bank and I know my customers by name and that is important to people. Bigger banks, your just another number to them.

    • Diane

      My spouse and I opened up a savings and checking account with a small credit union many years ago.  Back then the requirements to join the credit union were a little stringent but I have noticed over the years – that you can just about become eligible for a credit union somewhere.  Credit unions are great….the people are friendly, helpful and best of all they usually, almost always have the best rates in town.  I remember when we went to go buy a car and needed to finance a portion of it that the dealership wanted us to go with them….when they told us their rates…..I almost laughed out loud.  No thanks, I said…..I can get a loan for a lot less.   

      Get cash back at the grocery store….avoid having to pay fees.  But I will tell you that when we travelled in Europe…our  credit union ATM cards never charged us a fee…it was awesome!   

    • Jlaleonard

      I got rid of BOA years ago with the hidden charges and when the new changes started. We always is refuse overdraft protection at our banks after the new law went into effect that allowed everyone to opt out. If you use your debit card it will be denied for your purchase but you will not have any overdraft fees.I feel if for any reason  if I forgot to make a deposit, being denied a purchase is better than paying these high overdraft fees. The monthly bill auto drafts will still go through and can still over draw your account unless it is backed up with a linked saving account which has a lower overdraft fee. We do not pay any fees at our banks for any of these hidden service fees and always read the statements closely to make sure new changes have not taken place.

    • We switched form BOA to Wells Fargo about a year ago for WF debit rewards plan.  Now with the new fees we are being charged $15 a month to use our checking and $10 a month for our savings!!!!!  That is $25 a month in fees!!!  I am so mad!!!  We are a one income house hold.  We are now looking to switch banks.  Any suggestions?  I thought about Navy Fed.  but after reading some posts we are going to look into USAA.

    • Anonymous

      Credit unions are the way to go. Many welcome anyone interested in joining. Mine called one morning to let me know there wasn’t enough in the account for an automatic draft and let me transfer from another account online to avoid overdraft fees! I don’t remember the last time I paid any fees.

    • Mrscori2006

      Wells Fargo charges a $10.00 fee if they have to pull $$ out of your savings for Overdraft Protection. Ridiculous!

      • Rae

        whaaat? isn’t the purpose of having overdraft PROTECTION to avoid a fee?? and it’s YOUR money, not like they are extending you a loan or anything! that makes me mad, and i don’t even bank there. 

        • Annette

          BofA does the same!  It’s crazy!!!

        • guest

          It’s cheaper than getting an overdraft fee for each transaction. and there is also the option of keeping up with your account and not overdrawing it!!

      • Regions does this, too. I’d really rather just pay one flat monthly fee for banking than sit around wondering what fee is going to pop up by surprise next. I realize that banks have to make money off “free checking” accounts, but sheesh I feel like they’re always coming at us with something!

    • GrammarDiva

      So far, Fifth Third has not implemented ATM or debit fees.  I’m hoping they don’t, but I suspect it will be inevitable.  For now, we are using a cash envelope system as much as possible, and I pay all bills online.  I may write one or two paper checks every few months.  The cash system is working quite well for us so far.  We also use a reloadable Kroger gift card that offers money into my son’s band account, and we use it to purchase gift cards from Kroger for things like fast food, gas, etc. so that we can earn the extra gas points.  Unfortunately, the State Farm Credit Union doesn’t offer checking accounts for now.  I hope that changes soon.

      • Ginakbutler

        I work for Fifth Third and there has been no talk of implementing a debit card fee. It’s a great place to work AND bank!

        • washington

          NO WAY!!! WARNING…DO NOT BANK AT FIFTH THIRD!! DON’T WORK THERE EITHER. They are another banking giant who charges for everything and there is NO negotiating. Oh, and they do not care about their employees.

    • Jeanne W.

      I’ve had an account with my credit union for nearly 30 years now, having joined as a young teenager. I got my first credit card through them, have had a couple of mortgages, even a second mortgage, a few car loans, not to mention a savings and checking account. I even moved out of state about 10 years ago and with direct deposit and computer access have maintained the account. In addition, I have had a few bank accounts over the years, but the credit union has ALWAYS been the best deal! But do shop around for your credit union as some are better than others. 

    • Lisa M

      Just a warning…IBM Credit Union does not operate like a credit union.  I’ve always used a credit union with pleasure until IBM bought out mine.  I’m currently looking a new cu.

    • Moneysayver

      I pulled my accounts from BoA 2 yrs ago.  I moved them to USAA and a local CU.  I also already had accounts at Navy Fed.  The big national banks are getting ridiculous and greedier.  I went into a Regions bank to get change for a $20 bill and the teller said they couldn’t do it because I didn’t have an account. How stupid is that?

      I’ve only had one issue with USAA but I’m sticking with them.  They refund ATM fees, give yearly dividends and you can now make deposits at The UPS Store.

      • Karen

        We are going to switch to USAA from BoA soon. If you don’t mind me asking, what’s the one issue?

      • Rae

        You can also do instant mobile deposits with android or iphone. USAA is the best bank i have ever had (yes, i was a navy brat) and i gave up brick-and-mortar banks about 10 years ago.  I love that i can get cash anywhere for free. not that i use cash much anymore, but i live in a college town where the average atm transaction fee is $4. my 17-year-old has the free prepaid teen debit mastercard and i can see his transactions within seconds on my phone. boy, does that kid love some starbucks…*grin*

    • Anonymous

      Tip #8 Find a credit union! They are non-profit and don’t have fees for everything. They have no monthly checking account fees or any qualifications (like having a certain amount in your account or making a certain amount of debits, etc.). The ones I have worked with also have no fees for transferring money from a linked account if you don’t have enough in your primary. I highly recommend credit unions!!

    • Susan

      I’m seeing a lot of plugs for USAA here, but I’m confused.  Do you have to be a member of the military?  Their radio commercials make it sound as though you do.

      • Ucmba97

        You can join USAA in every way if you are active military, retired military, or once in the military with form DD214.  Other groups are permitted membership.  I suggest you call them or go online and apply for membership.  If you qaulify as one of the “other” groups ( like PENFED and NAVYFed credit union members, I think) they will allow you to use some if not all of their services.  The banking compay is different form the insuance company, so some groups can be banking members, but not insurance members. Once you are a member, you stay a member.  So if you father is a member, and he opens a joint savings account with you, then you are a member.  It’s a pretty good company.  Hope you can join.

        • Mrs. L

          You have to have a qualifying DD214 to be a full-fledged member.  I was injured during basic training, and my year of training/rehabilitation wasn’t enough to make me a member.

      • Anonymous

        Who is eligible?Active, retired and honorably separated officers and enlisted personnel of the U.S. military.Officer candidates in commissioning programs (Academy, ROTC, OCS/OTS).Adult children whose eligible parents have or had a USAA auto or property insurance product.1 Widows and widowers of USAA members who have or had a USAA auto or property insurance policy.
        See the website for more information.

      • CG

        Also, family members of military (my grandfather was career military and I can join USAA)

    • Smaller/local bank chains tend to have better terms! We’re switching from Regions (which is charging $5 per month per debit card used PLUS a $10/month fee if you don’t have direct deposit or a $1500 avg in your acct) to a small local chain that isn’t jumping on the debit card fee bandwagon. They also claim to not charge overdraft fees until the charge is POSTED.

      • CG

        It’s not a “bandwagon.” Bigger banks used to charge fees to the store/place you used your debit card. Now they cannot due to new regulations. So the big banks are passing the fees on to us because they are going to lose that revenue. but Some smaller banks and credit unions are exempt from this new regulation, so they can continue to charge a larger fee to the store or place you pay with your card.

      • CG

        It’s not a “bandwagon.” Bigger banks used to charge fees to the store/place you used your debit card. Now they cannot due to new regulations. So the big banks are passing the fees on to us because they are going to lose that revenue. but Some smaller banks and credit unions are exempt from this new regulation, so they can continue to charge a larger fee to the store or place you pay with your card.

        • Thanks for the info! I could’ve lived without the impolite little tidbit in the beginning, though.

        • Guest

          Banks still do charge fees to businesses for the accepting debit/credit cards.  Each cards’ fee varies as a percentage of all sales each month so in my eyes this is BOA double dipping…they are getting money from us and the businesses that allow customers to use plastic each month.  My husband I and will be leaving BOA even with the advantage account not charging monthly fees. There is just to much greed in the world these days :-(

        • Chris

          Actually, the law regulates card processors and the amount they can charge for credit cards vs debit cards (because one costs significantly more to process vs the other).  It has nothing to do specifically or directly with banks except that banks all get a piece of that fee.  Since they are losing that revenue stream they have to replace it with something thus the decision by the larger institutions to charge a fee to cardholders.  Smaller banks aren’t exempt per se, it just isn’t something they have any control over but instead of attempting to replace the revenue they’re going to use it as an opportunity to pickup more customers from big banks.

    • January42003

      I have Regions and my husband and I decided last night to go back to our envelope system (ala Dave Ramsey & Financial Peace) and get back on track with our finances. We have direct deposit so we don’t have to worry about the $10 checking account fee, but we know they will be charging $4 for debit/checkcard fees (one time fee) on non-ATM purchases. We placed our debit cards in a file and will not be using them. (my husband proudly announced to the bank teller this morning, when withdrawing cash for gas and groceries, that we will no longer be using their debit cards! I think it made him feel good even if Regions could care less!) We definately overuse our debit cards and have spent and spent just because of the ease of using the cards. Well, no more. Time to get rid of our credit card debt and live without stress of overdrafts and such!

      • Angelas001

        Dave Ramsey rocks :) He’s just the road from us here in Nashville.

        • January42003

          Yeah, my husband and I did the Financial Peace class years ago, but of course got ourselves back into debt due to stupidity and overspending! Time to get back on track and stay on track this time! :)

    • guest

      eventually all the banks are going to have to start charging fees, even the smaller ones, if they don’t they will just not be in existance any longer.  Also please note that employees of the banks do not have a say in the fees you are charged so it would be great if people would not take out their anger on them.  I have to have a job just like most other people!!

      • January42003

        Agreed. Thanks to great tellers who make banking a little bit easier for all of us.

      • Chris

        yes but there are tellers who treat it just like that – a job – instead of a career.  So instead of just saying “well that’s the way it is and I have nothing to do with it” how about showing a little empathy for your customers?

        And no they don’t have to charge fees to stay in business – look at all of the banks that don’t charge fees (like online banks) and credit unions (that charge fewer, if any, fees) and they seem to be doing just fine.  Offer better service with value and customers will flock AND will take advantage of services where the bank really makes their money because it’s convenient and easy for the customer to use those services (and thus for the bank to make a profit) vs nickle and dime’ing account holders to death.

        • guest

          I don’t know if you have noticed but ALL the banks that have went under are small banks, not the big banks and if the big banks are charging a fee for something to stay a float and the small banks don’t they.will go under!! Or get bought out by a bigger bank… I think everyone should work at a bank for one day and then they might actually get it!!

          • Chris

            That is incorrect – there have been some very large failures when it comes to banks in the last couple of years.  Washington Mutual?  A big bank that was seized and sold to JPMorgan – and was the largest bank failure in history with $307 BILLION in assets.  IndyMac?  Large and failed and assumed by the FDIC.  Wachovia?  Another big bank that had to be sold to save it – to Wells Fargo.  CitiBank almost went under but was bailed out and then had to sell assets at the order of the government who was/is their largest shareholder.  Countrywide had to be sold to save it.  Look at the largest guarantors of home mortgages – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are almost entirely controlled by the government.  I suggest you do some research before you make a conclusion that is completely untrue – for someone who works in the banking industry you don’t seem to know much about banks.

            Banks don’t make any money on depositors – they make their money by making loans.  From credit cards to car and home loans that’s their bread and butter – which is funded by incoming deposits from account holders.  Not to mention their investment activities in various markets.  So to continue to nickle and dime those that provide the funds they need to continue to make money is just stupid – not to mention that when treated right those account holders tend to stay with the institution for other services and products.  The big banks charge all of those fees because all of the big banks do it and no one really has a choice unless you go with a small/smaller bank.

          • Chris

            Oh and side note – some of the largest banks in the US are also some of the worst performing.  Bank of America, in fact, has the most pending lawsuits of any bank in history.

            Some of the best banks?  They tend to be the smaller ones – USAA, American Express Bank, ING, HSBC, and so on.  Check Bankrate dot com for bank ratings and you’ll see the real research.

            • CG

              One of the reasons why smaller banks and credit unions are not having to charge the new fees is because many smaller places are exempt from the new regulations. It all has to do with the way banks are or are not allowed to charge fees to the stores. It used to be the bank charged a fee to the store where you used the card. Now the big banks are not allowed to charge the stores as much, so they are passing it along to us. If you are mad, write your representatives.

            • Raisingbushs

              I agreed with your first comment about remembering to be kind to the tellers but you need to do research about banking & FDIC regulations. Also research the insurance companies that many credit unions use. ANY bank that is FDIC insured which includes lots of small banks as well MUST go by the same regulations.

            • Chris

              Yes they have to submit to the same rules under FDIC insurance but not the same regulations.  Each bank has a choice of charter – meaning what government organization they can organize and form under.  And each government entity has a different set of rules, regulations, and oversight requirements.

              Also, it’s not the banks that charge the fee to merchants but the card processors and the card networks (ie. MasterCard, Visa, Discover/Novus, etc).  Those networks charge a percentage of the transaction plus a flat fee (usually something like 2.35% plus $0.35 or somewhere around there).  Each entity in the stream gets a piece – the processor, the network, then the bank who issued the card.  What was happening was the networks were charging the same fees for debit cards as credit cards and, since the banks get a portion of that fee, banks were making more money despite the fact that it costs a lot less to process debit card transactions vs credit card transactions (because they are handled differently behind the scenes).  What Congress did was limit what those “merchant processors” can charge for debit transactions thus limiting the fees, in the end, that banks get from the processors.  So the largest banks are looking to replace that fee income because, as public companies, it affects their bottom lines so they have to find some sort of replacement.  For some banks and credit unions they never used those fees as profit centers anyways – instead they focus on other product offerings and other income streams (like loans of all kinds, CDs, investments and investment activity, etc).

              So I agree with everyone else – vote with your dollars and feet and move to a bank that actually appreciates their customers as valued assets and not just money coming in the door.  The biggest banks will eventually catch on.

    • Sam

      My bank pays me really good interest if I use my debit card 10x per month.   Im really astounded at the Bank of America’s service fee.   

      I net at least $75 per month in interest from my credit union by using by debit card, which generally pays for all those little purchases!

      • Delaina Paasch

        what bank is this?

        • Ashley

          Yes what bank IS this! LOL

      • Delaina Paasch

        what bank is this?

    • Gail

      I know there will be a big
      customer loss to Bank of America very soon. If other banks just set back
      and wait while offering free checking to new customers and other
      amenities, they will have an increase in their deposits and an increase
      in their customer base. Greed will get you nowhere and the end result is
      a loss for Bank of America.

      • Couponcutie007

        So Sad but So true what is so sad is that BOA just laid off 30000+ people! and then they instate a check card fee??? All that shows is how corrupt the company is! DON’T give this bank your business! 

    • Sushiqwn

      One thing I do is round up all debits to the next 10 cent mark and don’t count any change amount on my deposits.  So if I am deposting $25.38, I put it in my check book register as a $25.00 deposit.  If my debit (say my bill at Wal-Mart) is $25.38 then I put it in the check book register as $25.40.  It is only a little difference each time, but you would be amazed at how quickly it adds up.  Especially if you put that with your plan of socking away $100.  Also Wachovia/Wells Fargo had the “Way to Save” program that automatically added $1 to each transaction with your debit card.  This goes into a savings account that can then act as your overdraft protection, but is still your money and they don’t charge fees if you have to use it as overdraft.  So far with the transition to Wells Fargo they haven’t taken then away, hopefully they won’t. 

      • Guest

        Wells Fargo charged me $32 to use MY money in my way to save account to cover an over draft… I’m switching to a credit union.

      • Bakananeko1989

        when they move over to wells fargo they will charge you a 15 fee if you overdraft into your way to save.

    • Brandyharrison23

      Ha i just got a letter from SUNTRUST which i thought was the greatest bank saying that they were going to start charging me $5 unlimited check card and $7 monthly maintanance fee as of october 15, 2011~ WHAT! so you mean your gonna charge me to use MY check card to pay for MY items with MY money!?!?! I was flabergasted!

      • 80srokkergirl

        I have suntrust also and was shocked to get the letter too. GRRRRR….

    • washington

      Smaller community banks have more flexibility in decisions they make…approving loans, reversing overdraft fees etc. I work for a bank that does not charge a non-account holder a fee to cash a check from an account holder, no fee to purchase a cashier’s check, we do not charge businesses for ordering change, no debit card fees, we have free checking, however it is not free if you overdraw your account. Yes, there is people out there that think free is free. Those bigger banks are just money hungry, grubbing thieves. Oh and another thing, if a non-account holder comes into our bank and wants smaller bills for $100…we will do it for them. I can understand if they want a big amount of change/smaller bills. Remember, banks are only allowed to keep a certain low amount of cash as their working supply.  Obviously if your Teller is only there because it is just a job, than it is time for a change by the customer OR maybe the bank.

      • washington

        Oh and another thing…we are ranked 9th out of 84 banks based in NC on the performance report. That is something to be proud of.

    • Cheyenangel

      Regions is adding a charge for use. i deffently need to find a new bank. want one that is free.

    • Smm

      I bank at Community First Bank (Charleston, SC, area) and they are great! I have an interest-bearing checking account that requires no minimum balance, and the bank gives free checks to direct deposit customers (which I’m not anymore). Transactions clear nearly instantly, so deposited funds are available immediately and show up in real time online. I don’t know what the ATM cash withdrawal limit is, or if there is one, but I know that it’s at least $400. They are a community bank with maybe seven branch locations, so in recognition of that, they waive the first four ATM transaction fees on your monthly statement (and of course there is no fee for using a CommFirst ATM or getting cash back with a purchase)! I really love this bank. I use a couple of the branches and the tellers know me by name, and the managers have been understanding and easy to work with when addressing any occasional banking issues that come up. They’re about to merge with another bank and the new entity will be CresComm, I believe. 

    • Couponcutie007

      Opt-Out on Overdraft fees all together… Your bank HAS to have the option the law was passed recently (during the Obama administration that is) make sure to tell your bank that you want to opt-out! It can save lots of people lots of money, If you want to spend money you do not have get a credit card. 

      • Chris

        While I agree in theory, it’s nice to have the ability to overdraw – I’ve made the mistake of calculating incorrectly and thought I had more money for pending transactions than I really had.

        What I like about my bank, INGDirect, is they don’t charge any overdraft fees!  Instead you get an Overdraft Line of Credit that they charge interest on based on the amount of time you need/use the money overdrafted.  Right now it’s around 11% but for only a couple of days you might pay $0.31 to overdraw by $25 instead of a $35+ fee.  Plus they pay interest on their Electric Orange checking so it actually cancels out sometimes (which I’ve had happen – my interest paid was more than what I was charged for overdraft so it ended up being free).

        Something to think about.

    • Chris

      ALERT:  INGDirect is offering new accounts a $50 sign-up bonus if you are referred by an existing customer.  Send me an email with your name and email address and I would be happy to send anyone interested a link (disclosure:  I get $10 if you sign-up – so use it/don’t use it it’s up to you).  The bonus is not available by just going through their website – only via referral.  My email address is cmetzger at metzdomain dot com