As July 21 — the date at which debit card swipe fee caps go into effect — draws near, more banks are adding fees. You might be surprised at some of the fees that banks are contemplating in an effort to raise revenue that they expect to lose from the debit card exchange fee caps. Even if your bank isn’t adding new fees, you should double check your bank statement for fees that might be charge to you. On top of that, you should make sure to read correspondence from your bank; the terms and conditions of your account may be changing. I just received a notice that activity requirements are being added to my bank account. It shouldn’t result in fees, since I meet the activity requirements, but if I had let my account go dormant, there would be difficulties — and charges.
Believe it or Not, These are Real Bank Fees
You might be surprise at what some banks are charging right now in terms of fees. Some banks have decided to start charging for just about anything that can be construed as an inconvenience:
- Coin counting: You’d better have those coins properly rolled if you bring them to the bank. Otherwise, you might be charged a fee.
- Replacement debit card: When I replaced a credit card recently, there was no charge. However, would that be the case if I replaced my debit card? Some banks charge you when you need a new debit card.
- Statements: Going paperless may now have financial benefits, as well as environmental benefits. Some banks have started tacking on a fee for paper statements. Additionally, you might find that asking for older statements can result in a fee.
- Phone transactions: I was surprised to find, at one of my banks, that arranging a payment on my credit card over the phone came with a fee. You’d better check that before you make a move over the phone.
- Failure to meet activity requirements: Some banks require that you make a certain number of deposits and withdrawals if you want to avoid fees. This happened on my account. Additionally, there might be a new minimum balance requirement that can result in fees.
- Interaction with tellers: You might be charged to speak with a teller at some financial institutions. Many banks, though, only institute this fee as part of some sort of Express checking account or student checking account. The idea with certain accounts is that you will perform most of your banking online. You might be allowed two to four “free” teller visits a month, but the fees start after that.
- Reward point redemption: Rewards debit cards haven’t been around for very long, and already they are a dying breed. And it doesn’t help that some financial institutions charge you when you want to redeem your points. It’s not enough that many rewards debit cards come with annual fees; now you have to be charged when you redeem the points you’ve earned.
Not all banks are like this, of course. It is still possible to find truly free checking, with no strings attached. but it is becoming increasingly difficult. Check with your financial institution for different fees, and if you aren’t happy with what you see, consider switching to a new bank.