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The banks are out to screw you. Their scheme to charge for debit card usage may have been thwarted, but that doesn't mean they aren't finding other ways to bleed you dry.
Stuff like this didn't get the attention of the debit card fees, thus isn't being rolled back:
On May 24, Bank of America will raise the monthly fee on its most popular checking account from $8.95 to $12. On June 27, it will start charging customers a $35 fee if they overdraw their account by less than $10. And next year, the bank plans to replace its basic checking account with a new "essentials" account that comes with a monthly fee that cannot be avoided.
At Chase Bank, fees have increased for overdraft transfers, outgoing wire transfers and stopped payments. New customers that sign up for a basic checking account face a $12 monthly charge, up from $6.
Experts warn consumers to expect more of these and other moves by large banks to boost revenue.
Luckily, you can do something about it, like the 700,000 people who have moved to credit unions since October. So take out your cash and move it to non-profit or local community banks and credit unions. It'll save you money.
"A credit union is going to smoke a commercial bank every day of the week and twice on Sundays in the fee column," said John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at SmartCredit.com. That's because, in contrast to commercial banks, credit unions operate as non-profits.
"Earnings... that the credit union makes devolve to the members in the form of lower loan rates, higher deposit rates and lower fees," said Tony Cherin, a professor emeritus of finance at San Diego State University.
Also, and this might be more important, move your credit card and auto loan debt.
Because of their non-profit structure, credit unions usually offer more competitive rates than big banks on things like credit cards and CDs. For example, Citi's Platinum Select Mastercard has a variable APR of between 12% and 22% (after an introductory APR of 0% for the first 21 months) compared with the 10% purchase APR offered by the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, according to Bankrate.com.
Update: Below the fold, an infuriating graphic from Pew on checking account fees.
Originally posted to kos on Mon Nov 14, 2011 at 11:29 AM PST.