NEW YORK (CBS 2) – Many banks are dealing with the loss of money from credit card regulations by finding new fees and customers could be facing some in the next few months.
Now that it’s harder for banks to raise credit card interest rates, they’re looking for new ways to make money.
“The fees are a really big problem right now. Free checking has basically disappeared in all but a few circumstances,” Smartmoney.com‘s Kelli Grant told CBS 2′s Cindy Hsu.
The CEO of Bank of America just announced clients will start being charged new monthly fees on checking accounts if they don’t meet a minimum balance. Citibank is nearly tripling it’s monthly checking fees unless you make a certain number of transactions every month. Many other banks are mulling doing the same.
Grant said that communicating with your bank is the key to minimizing unnecessary fees.
“The first thing is to actually talk to your bank and find out what you would need to do to waive the fees. In some banks it’s as simple as having direct deposit from your employer or keeping a certain amount of money in the account,” Grant said.
A strong history may also help cut those fees especially if you have your mortgage with the bank, a couple credit cards or if you’ve been a long standing customer.
It’s also a good idea to talk to your employer as a lot of large companies have relationships with banks that could end up saving you money, Hsu reported.
“Citibank has a ‘Citi at Work’ program and they have partnerships with a lot of big employers and you get a certain higher level of checking account that would normally be easily a $10 to $15 charge per month, sometimes more, you’ll get it for free,” Grant explained.
You can easily compare who’s charging what at websites like bankrate.com.
The encouraging news is that competition for people’s business is tough, so it’s a great time to re-assess your bank and to shop around.
Experts also say online only banks and credit unions are other options that may save you money.