Posts in Category: fees

Why Are You Charged Bank Fees? 

February 27, 2013 Categories: fees

Fox Business recently posted an article explaining why consumers pay bank fees. I encourage you all to read the article here.

Are you done yet?

Now click on "Credit Union Search" at the top of the page and find a better alternative to paying high bank fees.

New Study Shows Big Banks Equal Bigger Fees 

November 20, 2012 Categories: bank alternatives fees saving

Since Congress largely deregulated consumer checking and savings accounts in the early 80s, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG) has tracked bank deposit account fee changes and documented the banks’ long-term strategy to raise fees, invent new fees and make it harder to avoid fees. A recent study over the last six months, interviewing 250 banks and 116 credit unions in 17 states and the District of Columbia and reviewing bank fees online in these and seven other states resulted in the report “Big Banks, Bigger Fees: A National Survey of Fees and Disclosure Compliance”.

The report examined the following questions:

  • How easy is it for consumers to shop around? Are banks complying with the Truth in Savings Act, which requires disclosure of a schedule of account fees to prospective customers?
  • Can consumers still find free or low-cost checking accounts or has free checking ended?
  • What can the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and other regulators do to help improve transparency in the financial marketplace?

Key findings included some of the following:

  • Only 48% of bank branches visited provided researchers with fee schedules as required by law on their first request. After two or more requests, eventually a total of 72% complied with the law. More than 1 in 10 (12%) of branches never complied and refused to provide fee information. Another 16% provided only partial information.
  • Researchers found a wide variety of free or low-cost checking options, with 63% of small banks and 60% of credit unions providing totally free checking. Although the biggest banks have recently tightened requirements to obtain totally free checking (available at only 24% of big bank branches), it is still available at more than half of big banks with a regular direct deposit (59%).
  • While more than half of big banks (62%) posted their full fee schedules on the web, versus less than one-third of small banks (29%), finding the fees was often a scavenger hunt. Many banks, especially big banks, placed fees in massive, clunky PDF files. Some banks even hid fee schedule links in footnotes or, worse, in their “site maps,” with no link available from the “compare checking accounts” page or any other pages.

The study also provides a list of key recommendations for both consumers, as well as regulators. Some of the consumer recommendations included the following:

  • Review your bank statements and count your fees. In addition to ATM surcharges, you may be paying your own bank an “off-us” ATM fee that only appears on your statement, whenever you use another owner’s ATM.
  • Examine how many fees you pay. Watch for a la carte fees you can avoid, for example, by only using online check images or statements. Use available text alerts to warn you of low balances that could result in overdrafts. Shop around. Look for better accounts. Bank at a credit union, not at a bank. Credit unions are member-owned, lower-cost alternatives to banks and often offer the same variety of services. It is easier to qualify for membership than most consumers think. Certainly, consider banking at a small bank, not a big bank. Consider moving your money by voting with your feet.

To access the full version of the study please click here. The recommendations might prove helpful to you if you are considering changing your financial institution or are looking for information on the type of fees you are being charged at your current financial institution.

Four Ways to Keep Your Checking Free 

November 05, 2012 Categories: checking fees tips

Yahoo recently published a article regarding ways to keep your checking account free. In an age where fees are on the rise in both amount and frequency, free checking could become a thing of the past.

Credit unions generally offer lower fees and better rates. Many credit unions also offer free checking accounts with no minimum balance required. Those that have fees tied to their checking accounts, usually the fees are minimal and don't put a large dent in already stretched budgets.

To read the full article and to get more tips on how to keep your checking account "free" click here.

More and More Americans Cutting Ties with Banks 

September 18, 2012 Categories: bank alternatives fees

A recent survey released by the FDIC provides interesting data about Americans’ banking habits; one of the most notable findings is that the number of Americans who have moved their money from mainstream banks elsewhere has risen by 821,000 households in just two years.

What’s the reason behind the trend? A recent article in TIME Magazine titled “America to Banks: We’re Just Not That Into You” offers an answer: fees.

Financial reform that came into effect over the past couple years cut into the fee revenue from automatic overdrafts and debit card interchange, especially at large banks. To make up for this loss in revenue, banks made up new fees: monthly maintenance fees, getting copies of statements, closing an account…the list goes on.

Fed up with the sudden onslaught of new fees, after not being charged any for quite some time, prompted many Americans to close their accounts with big banks and move their money elsewhere, explains the TIME article.

The FDIC survey also found interesting data regarding American households not doing their banking anywhere. One in 12 households or 8.3% are unbanked (no one in the household has a bank account whatsoever), while another roughly 20% are “underbanked”; they have a bank account but still use payday loans, prepaid debit cards, and other alternative financial products.

TIME points out that some Americans opt of traditional banking altogether because they believe they don’t have enough money for a bank account. Approximately one-third of Americans cite this as their reason for staying away from banks, according to the survey.

Prepaid debit cads are also taking some business away banks. It’s an alternative for those who think they can’t afford an account as well as those who could pay the fees but don’t want to, TIME points out.

Account Fees are on the Rise According to Recent Study 

August 21, 2012 Categories: fees

According to a recent study by, bank fees are on the rise again. At the end of 2011, consumers saw a brief decline in fees due to the prevalent anti-bank sentiment surrounding Bank Transfer Day and Occupy Wall Street protests. Now that the anger has mellowed a bit, banks have taken the opportunity to increase fees.

The study showed that on average, monthly maintenance, ATM and overdraft fees all increased. Maintenance fees rose to an average $12.08, up from $11.28; at large banks, they rose to $13.88. Meanwhile the average minimum balance required to avoid that fee jumped by $850 to $4,500.

Only about 35% of the accounts surveyed didn't include a monthly fee, down from nearly 39% in the last survey.

The survey showed that banks are charging more for non-customers to use their ATMs as well s for their customers to use ATMs that aren't in their network. Using a foreign ATM will now cost you an average of $3.68—close to 20% if you are taking out $20.

A better option for lower fees, or even no fees, are one of the many credit unions located throughout the country, and even the world. Use our locator to find a credit union for you.

To read the entire survey report, click here.

Study Shows Free Checking Available at 72% of Large Credit Unions, 45% of Banks 

August 14, 2012 Categories: bank alternatives checking fees

A recent survey showed that roughly 72% of the nation’s largest credit unions offer free checking accounts without a minimum balance requirement. That compares with 45% of banks.

The percentage is down slightly from last year’s 76%.’s 2012 Credit Union Checking Survey also showed that 10% of credit unions surveyed will waive monthly fees if account holders maintain a minimum balance ranging from $100 to $750.

"Only 45% of banks offer checking without a minimum," said the study, adding, "and their minimum balance requirements tend to be much higher--$585 for noninterest bearing accounts and a staggering $5,587 for interest checking accounts."

"Overall, 98% of the credit union checking accounts that we surveyed are either free or can become free if the accountholder meets minimum balance, direct deposit and/or e-statement requirements," said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst. "So credit unions remain a viable, consumer-friendly alternative for finding a free checking account."

Most (68%) credit union checking accounts in the survey do not pay interest, Bankrate noted. Those that do yield an average of 0.12%, down from 0.17% last year, which is consistent with the ongoing declines seen in cash investments, the publisher said.

Other fees noted in the survey:

  • Credit unions consistently charge less in overdraft fees for nonsufficient funds. The average cost of the first overdraft at credit unions is up slightly, to $26.65 from last year's $26.05, compared to $30.83 at banks. The most common fees assessed at credit unions are $25 and $30, compared to the most common fee of $35 at banks.
  • Thirty percent of credit unions surveyed have either no ATM fees outside the network or provide at least one free withdrawal per week before the fee kicks in. That compares to 29% at banks.
  • Ninety-six percent of credit unions will charge a non-member for using their ATM. This year's average surcharge is $2.08, down from $2.10 last year. At bank-owned ATMs, the average surcharge is $2.40.  Credit unions' most common surcharge is $2, compared with $3 at banks.

Understanding Fees: What You Need to Consider When Making Decisions 

August 02, 2012 Categories: fees

Mary Johnson recently posted a blog article on the Huffington Post blog site outlining some things to consider about fees and policies when making decisions about your finances. She lists things to consider and notes that you should review your needs and priorities when making decisions about the right financial institution for your hard-earned dollars. Her tips are tricks are sure to help anyone, even if it just makes you think about how you are currently managing your money and your financial relationships. To read the article click here.

299 Ward Street, Hightstown, New Jersey 08520
© 2011 - 2018 Banking You Can Trust Web Design by i7MEDIA