Whether your goal is saving money, convenience, security or protection, many of us turn to banks and credit unions. As the banking industry faces low interest rates and slow economic growth, financial institutions are not making as much money off traditional services, such as holding deposits or loans to small businesses and individuals. They have also dealt with new federal regulations that reduced their revenue from debit card swipe and overdraft fees. So what does that mean to consumers?
Many financial institutions are trying to balance not upsetting their customers with more charges, while searching for new sources of income. As a result, consumers face new checking account fees, fees for excessive withdrawals and membership fees. Some financial institutions have also sent out notices that they will automatically charge and enroll their members in new monthly services such as identity theft and overdraft protection services unless the member calls to decline the service. According to MoneyRates.com “monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees and ATM fees all rose over the past six months.”
In some cases, banks are developing creative ways to link convenience with new fees, giving consumers the choice to say yes or no. According to Time, “at one union bank, if you’re sick of waiting on hold to talk to a customer service rep, you can pay a fee to be put at the head of the telephone queue when calling.” In addition, some banks will likely start charging fees to consumers who want access to their credit score and monthly fees for online bill pays, where in the past, both used to be free.
If you’re thinking about moving your money to another financial institution in an attempt to avoid what you consider excessive fees, make sure you’re not going to be charged an account closing fee. As a matter of fact, you should check out Consumers Union’s Five Things You Need to Know Before You Switch Banks Checklist before making your decision.
What are some fees your bank charges that you think should be free?