Banking Fees Make Credit Card Terms Look Good

Bank fees are up there with credit card agreements in the pantheon of egregiously detestable conduct consumers have to put up with just for the pleasure of setting up a checking account.

But unlike credit card terms, for the most part, you can avoid most bank fees by being proactive with your finances. Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at Bankrate, says three types of fees in particular should be avoided because they have a bad habit of surreptitiously creeping up:

Balance transfer fees. This has been typically a 3 percent fee but is now edging toward 4 percent with many banks. Balance transfers are also ballooning as consumers try to switch up credit cards after their terms unexpectedly change. Sometimes these fees are not capped and may outweigh the benefit of transferring a balance.

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Currence conversion fees. Generally 3 percent, this is morphing into a ‘foreign transaction fee.’ It used to be assessed if you were oversees transacting in a foreign currency, but now it is being leveled against many travelers just for using their cards abroad.

Tiered fees for bounced checks. This one is completely avoidable if you just pay attention to your balance but is one of the more painful fees you can be slapped with. The cost of bouncing or overdrawing the second, third and fourth times are always higher than the first. Luckily, online banking tools make it easier to know when you’re close to overdrawing.