Getting nickeled and dimed is a little more annoying when the spare change in question—and often, much bigger fees—are being debited directly from your checking account in the form of bank fees.
But it's a frustration that's easily avoided. A survey from the American Banking Association found that 74 percent of customers pay $3 or less in monthly bank charges—and the bulk of those pay nothing at all.
To limit charges, start by reassessing your account. Almost three-quarters of credit unions still offer free checking, according to Bankrate.com, and 38 percent of big banks. Avoiding the fee at others might be as simple as keeping $100 or so in your account, or signing up for direct deposit. "We've found that's a reliable way to get a free account," said Linda Sherry, director of national priorities for Consumer-Action.org.