File this one under ‘not surprising’.
Bank of America announced last week that it would begin to institute a five dollar monthly service fee for using their debit card to make purchases. Earlier this year I wrote about a few of the pending changes that banks were set to make, largely as a means of recouping profits that are being lost through the Dodd-Frank financial protection act. So yes, if you think you are getting dinged in fees now, it’s likely to get rougher in the future, as recent figures estimate that banks need to recoup 2 billion dollars, to stay on track, from last year.
In light of this, here are some helpful tips and ideas for keeping fees under control, if not eliminating them entirely. As a demographic that is trying to establish itself financially within a changing and evolving economy, Latinos should be wary of the financial changes that are occurring:
Consider using a credit card. Many institutions are looking at the fee just for debit purchases, but credit is usually the cheaper of the two options, and won’t carry a fee. If you use responsibly, it’s also a good way to build credit or utilize a rewards program – if you can use credit within your means.
Consider switching to a credit union or a small community bank. Sure, they don’t have the resources of the big banks, but they’re still small enough that many of the changes outlined in Dodd Frank won’t apply the same way. They won’t have to pass the cost over to you, and usually these community locations are very service-oriented compared to the big guys.
Research any new banks using websites such as Bankrate. Here you can see a breakdown of different banks across the country and compare interest rates and fees.
Ask for ‘cash back’ with purchases at stores, if your bank is placing steep ATM fees on you, just to withdraw cash. Your cost of entry in this case may be a pack of gum or a soda, but as long as your bank isn’t charging for that debit purchase you have essentially unlimited access to your cash. Plus, your breath will stay minty fresh.
Ask for your money back. Don’t forget that it isn’t completely unheard of for a bank to return some of the fees you’ve been charged. Although you won’t see it in any official pamphlet or mailing, a lot of institutions do have policies in place to return fees as a courtesy, usually once or twice annually.
Above all, keep in mind that the banks need YOU to keep them in business. If you feel as if you are not getting the most out of your financial relationship, it’s up to you to make a change.
To learn more about Staff Writer, Ryan Almodovar, visit Awkward and Dangerous.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of
the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.