While some people consider fees a part of doing business, others don't even realize they are being charged. This is a growing problem, and one that consumers need to be aware of at all times.
In some cases, there is nothing wrong with paying a fee for a service. In fact, this is to be expected in many circumstances. However, there is nothing worse than a "hidden" credit card fee that takes money from the consumer without any notice.
What to look out for:
Even if you know hidden fees exist, it can often times be difficult to pinpoint these as a means of saving money.
Below are five common fees, some of which you may be aware of and some of which may be sneaking up on you:
If you have an ATM card you are likely aware that you could be charged a fee for using it to access your funds. Whether or not you are assessed a fee and how much it runs you is based on a variety of factors, including your bank as well as the machine you are using.
An ATM machine owned and operated by your bank may allow you to complete transactions with no ATM fees. The question is this: will you be lucky enough to find one of these machines every time you need to withdrawal money?
Check out our article on common bank fees here.
Credit card fees
While this problem is not nearly as bad as it once was, it appears that things could get worse in the future. In addition to common fees, such as a credit card annual fee, many merchants are looking to implement a surcharge.
Believe it or not, some stores are already doing this. To be safe, you may want to ask about this at checkout. The last thing you want is to make a purchase, just to check your credit card statement and find that you have been hit with a service charge of up to four percent.
Stock broker fees
Are you the type of person who is always looking to invest for the future? No matter if you buy and sell stocks on a daily basis or are holding onto your investments for the long run, you should be familiar with the fees charged by your broker.
ShareBuilder, one of the most popular online brokers, charges a fee for every transaction as well as many others including an options fee and brokerage assistance fee.
Bank account fee
As hard as it is to believe, more and more banks are charging a fee if you don't meet particular requirements attached to your account.
My bank recently began charging a fee on any savings account with less than a $300 average monthly balance. This seems a bit ridiculous, but it is something many banks are doing as a way of offsetting some of their own fees.
Tip: I was able to successfully contact my bank and have the fee cut in half for the next 12 months. This may not be exactly what I wanted, but it was worth the few minutes I spent on the phone.
Do you enjoy going to the movies? How about the local stadium to see your favorite baseball or football team in action? The fees you get hit with to purchase tickets online is growing out of control.
We discussed some of the ways to save money on movie tickets. If you are buying sports tickets, compare all your options to determine if there is any way of avoiding fees. Maybe you can purchase at the gate, or maybe you can contact the ticket office direct over the phone. You have to compare your options if you plan on minimizing your fees.
You may not think these fees are costing you a lot of money, but over the course of the year you may be surprised at just how much cash you are throwing away.
Take a closer look at the common hidden fees detailed above to determine if one or more has been impacting your finances.