Bank of America wasn’t the first bank to slap its customers with new fees this month: Nationwide, several banks are testing new debit card and ATM fees in a reaction to the Durbin Ammendment that put caps on how much they can charge merchants per swipe. According to the Times, Wells Fargo and Chase are considering charging a $3 monthly debit fee, HSBC increased its ATM fee from $2 to $2.50, and TDBank is charging customers $2 to use ATM machines out of its network.
Before you throw out your debit card, though, there may be hope on this fee-filled horizon.
Here are some tips to evade these new pesky fees:
- Many fees are still in the testing phase, meaning they may not be implemented if customers complain loudly enough—or switch banks, which you should strongly consider.
- If your bank does implement new fees and you switch, make sure to do it securely with the help of Defend Your Dollars, a consumer watchdog group that offers great tips.
- Avoid using out-of-network ATMs—if not for ATM skimming, then for the fees banks are increasingly tacking onto ATM withdrawals. A $1.50 ATM fee PLUS a fee from your bank will add up quick.
- Sign up for a brokerage account, like Charles Schwab’s. The reason? Most banks offer brokerage accounts with free checking and no minimum balance.
- Go paperless. Chase is already charging customers who receive paper statements, but you can dodge this by monitoring your balance online.
- If you’re not primarily a debit card user, you can exchange your debit card for an ATM only card, reports the Baltimore Sun. That said, be wary of the cash-only lifestyle, which we will discuss in a future post.
Debit D-Day hasn’t struck just yet, so there is still time to mobilize your finances for the new fees. Rest assured, we’ll get through this together.