It should be no surprise that usatoday.com is reporting that banks received a record amount in fees last year:
…Last year, banks, thrifts and credit unions collected a record $37.8 billion in service charges on accounts, more than double what they got in 1994, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the National Credit Union Administration. These fees provide a more stable source of income to banks than products tied to fluctuating interest rates.
Bounced-check and ATM fees are setting records. Consumers are paying higher service charges for checking accounts. Banks are requiring higher balances on interest-bearing accounts…And banks that issue credit cards are increasing fees for late payments and over-the-limit charges to as much as $39 per violation. Make this mistake once or twice, and your interest rate could hit 30%…
I’ve had discussions with friend about banks time and again — and in my opinion they have in many ways lost their purpose. They charge you money to borrow money for loans and on credit cards. This makes sense. But now in many instances they charge you for you to keep your money there and that just doesn’t make sense. You give them money and then get charged fees for doing so.
All that goes to show that you have to be organized and diligent in monitoring your bank so you don’t end up paying more than you are getting. It’s worth the time to learn how to reduce bank fees, avoid bounced checks and be sure that you understand that courtesy overdraft service is not your friend.