Banks exist to profit, so many are raising existing fees to make up for ones that recently have been disallowed. The good news is that these fees are much more transparent and upfront.
The bad news? Over the past six months, nearly 20 percent of credit card issuers have raised interest rates more than 25 percent. Annual fees are up. Bank of America has added annual card fees that can range from $29 to $99 for a limited group of cardholders based on risk and profitability. Similarly, in April 2010, Citigroup added a $60 annual fee to some credit card accounts when the cardholder has annual purchases under $2,400. Balance transfer rates have increased by 10 percent across the board since February. ATM fees rose 13 percent last year, and banks are generated more than a $10 billion a year in revenue from people who use their ATM cards in other bank’s ATM machines. Bank of America and Wells Fargo have started to charge a monthly maintenance fee on checking accounts. By January 2011, it is predicted that fees on checking accounts will be the norm.
What to do? Call your credit card company and check how each of these fees have changed for your card. Ask if any increases are coming in the next 12 months. Increase the amount of your ATM withdrawals so you will not be tempted to get cash from a non-bank ATM. Or consider joining a non-traditional bank that reimburses you for all ATM fees.