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3 On Your Side: Bank Fee Frenzy

jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When it comes to banking, what’s your number one gripe? If it’s bank fees, you’re not alone. Banks are trying to make up billions lost when congress capped the amount they could charge in debit card swipe fees. But as 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan finds, some of the new fees they’re introducing may have you shaking your head!

Would you pay a flat $25 monthly fee so your bank won’t charge you each time you use an out-of-network ATM? Some banks are trying it out.

What about a five-dollar fee to replace a missing debit card? – twenty if you want it rushed. How about a fee to use a teller?
That one stunned Dave Alexander.

“I just said, ‘is it April fool’s, or what’s going on?’ they said, ‘no, that’s, you know, recent bank policy,’ said Alexander.

And it doesn’t stop there. For a dollar a month, some banks allow you to go straight to the front of the phone line, skipping other callers on hold.

Others are charging a buck if you want a printed ATM mini statement.

Banks have to disclose their fees in the documents you get when you open an account, and in those disclosures that show up in the mail.

“Banks are really struggling to find ways to make money off their checking deposits so they’re experimenting with new things,” said Claes Bell with Bankrate.com.

The American Bankers Association says they still need to cover costs for things like checking accounts.

“Some consultants estimate its between 250 and 300 dollars a year, and those costs have to be recovered. And the costs aren’t just for providing statements and processing transactions. It’s also for preventing fraud, protecting privacy,” said Nessa Feddis with the American Bankers Association.

With many of the new fees targeting customers who don’t mind paying for convenience.

“Baby boomers apparently like an all in one fee, whereas gen y, gen x, like to build their own. They want the basics and then they’ll pay extra for what they want,” said Feddis.

Dave didn’t pay the teller fee, and has a message for banks.

“Enough is enough. I just won’t be nickeled and dimed to death,” said Alexander.

Some banks will even hit you with a $25 fee if you close an account within six months of opening it.

For more information, visit the American Bankers Association website.