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How to Avoid Unnecessary Banking and Credit Card Fees

Even small fees can take their toll on your finances, so try to avoid fees whenever you can. To avoid getting dinged for unnecessary fees, follow this advice:

  • Keep your checking account in the black to avoid overdraft charges. When you write a check that bounces, you generally have to pay your bank’s overdraft fee and a fee to the business you wrote the check to. If the overdraft results in a late payment, you have to pony up for the late payment fee, too. Things only get worse if the late payment is to a credit card company that ups the interest rate you pay.

  • Don’t use your debit cards when doing so results in a fee. If you use your debit card at a bank that’s not your own, you may end up paying a service fee to access your own money. Some banks and credit unions add a charge when you use your debit card as a debit card (the transaction requires that you enter your PIN), rather than as a credit card, or if you use it more than a certain number of times.

Avoid cash advances with your credit card. Many credit card companies charge a higher percentage of interest for cash advances than they do for other transactions. And because the card company gets to decide which balance it applies your payment to, it pays for the lower-interest transactions first, leaving the higher interest charges on the card longer.

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