Bookmark These: Reacting to new bank fees
By Reid Kanaley
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Banks are looking for new ways to make money, and your debit card has their eye. New fees to debit card holders, announced in recent days by Bank of America and Citigroup, are a wake-up call for all consumers.
-Unintended consequences: Forbes.com says here that Bank of America's new fee is the result of limits put on banks under recent Dodd-Frank Act regulations. As of Oct. 1, the act limits the fees big banks can charge retailers when a customer uses her debit card to make a purchase. That was good news for retailers, but not for individuals with debit cards, according to many observers, including Forbes staffer Halah Touryalai, the author of this post. As some predicted, banks are simply looking elsewhere to make up the shortfall. http://is.gd/D23X6A
-Switch to credit: At BankingMyWay.com, personal-finance writer Jeff Brown wraps up some of the best advice in recommending strategies to minimize debit card fees - or to make them as palatable as possible in these sour times. You might need to consolidate accounts, for example, to avoid paying fees on several. Brown also notes that if you pay a balance every month to avoid the interest charges, the cost of using a credit card for purchases, instead of a debit card, may be smaller. http://is.gd/PlIqpP
-Shop around: It's certainly a good time to start shopping for better rates and fees, notes this posting at eHow.com. It's more important than ever to read the fine print when you open an account - and again, and again as the bank unilaterally changes its terms. It's easy to ignore those single-spaced notices mailed by banks, and then to be shocked at the subsequent hits to your account. http://is.gd/wCQIPn
-Know the players: The enormous revenue that debit and credit cards generate for banks explains the game that banks and merchants play to entice customers to use either a credit card (preferred by banks) or a debit card (preferred by merchants). About.com describes the long-running game - with all of us in the middle. The fact that the rules are changing right now means it's important to be a fully informed consumer. http://is.gd/CmAuw3
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