Consolidate Your Debt by Reducing Extra Fees

By Debbie Wilson Columnist

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Extreme competition and low interest rates have made it harder for banks and credit card companies to stay in business. Their solution, aside from trying to lend you more money, is to increase fees! These fees include ATM fees, bank service charges, credit card late fees, mortgage processing fees, and ever increasing credit card finance charges. And while you can't always erase these injustices, you can avoid many of them.


ATM Fees

Many of today's banks charge fees for using a foreign ATM. These fees can average $1.50 - $2.00 per transaction. To stop these charges, which can really add up over the course of a month or year, consider getting cash back at the grocery store. It is usually free. Another option to consider is an Internet-only bank.

Bank Service Fees

Fall below a minimum balance, write too many checks, or simply keep a specific type of account open and many banks charge you $10-$15 per month. Ask your bank about free checking account programs or one with fewer restrictions and you could eliminate hundreds of dollars in fees per year.

Credit Card Late Fees

Pay your credit card payment one day past the due date and watch the finance charges pile on. If it's a first offense, your company just may waive the fee. If not, consider consolidating your debt to a low-APR card to eliminate owning too many cards and watch your finance fees plummet. Sometimes less is truly more.

Mortgage Processing Fees

Finally, read the fine print before you sign your mortgage papers. Many mortgage processing fees are both negotiable and/or unnecessary. Make sure you're getting the best deal for you, not the lender, broker, or title company.

You may not think all these fees mean much at first glance, but over a period of time, they can become highly significant and ultimately larceny by way of fee overload.


About the Author
Debbie Wilson owns and operates a lakeside resort. Her previous experience includes profitability consulting for a national healthcare company. Debbie holds a B.A. in Business Management with a minor in Physical Education.

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