Beware Of Banks Hidden Charges

Friday, September 25, 2009, 6:06 AM | Leave Comment

In the wake of the uproar over bank fees charged to debit card holders, banking giants Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase announced Tuesday drastic changes to their overdraft policies.

However, there is a long list of fees that people pay that doesn’t require any type of acknowledgment on the part of the consumer.

Watch out for these major areas of hidden bank revenues:

  • Balance transfer fees

    Banks commonly mail out ads promoting low interest rates for customers willing to transfer credit card balances from another institution.

    What many don’t advertise is that there is often a balance transfer fee of between 3% and 5% hidden in the fine print.

    If you are thinking about switching to a card with a lower interest rate, ask the bank what type of transfer fees it charges. These fees are separate from the annual interest rate that you pay.

  • Cash Advances

    Consumers who take cash advances from their credit cards will also be hit with a transaction fee that they might not have been expecting.

    If cash advances weren’t costly enough with interest rates in the high teens, there’s no grace period, and the interest clock starts ticking right away.

  • Foreign Currency Surcharges

    Using a debit or credit card while traveling overseas is wonderfully convenient.

    Over the past few years, banks have commonly started charging a 3% fee for any purchases made in foreign currencies.

  • Balance Requirements

    Many banks offer to waive monthly service fees on checking or savings accounts if customers maintain a collective balance above a set minimum.

    Dip below it, and you could be hit with a hefty charge every time your balance falls below the minimum.

In a Nutshell
Always ask your bank questions about a variety of fees that you might not be aware of, especially using your credit card and/or debit card whether you are using them here in the United States or traveling overseas.

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