5 Ways to Avoid Debit Card Fees

What's Hot

2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

America, land of the fee. Because the Dodd-Frank Act is costing big banks swipe fee revenue, they're trying to pin the loss on consumers. But public outcry, and these tips, might save you from new fees on debit cards.

These days, we’ve sadly come to expect (if not accept) ridiculous fees. But a fee to use your own money – that’s insane, right?

Bank of America didn’t think so. About a month ago, they announced a new plan to charge consumers a $5 monthly fee to use a debit card, even if they use it once and swipe as “credit” instead of “debit.”  Other big banks made similar proposals.

Why? In short, because one of their other fee schemes – “swipe fees” charged to retailers every time you use your debit card – got curbed by government regulations at an estimated cost to the banking industry of about $6.5 billion per year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson looks at some ways to get around these debit fees. Check it out, and then read on for more.

As Stacy said, there’s no reason to put up with bad banking behavior. And because consumers and politicians are making some noise, Bank of America and others are planning to tweak or scrap this fee proposal, Forbes reported last week. SunTrust, which had already implemented a fee, is killing the debit fee and refunding it this week. But until the details are worked out everywhere, and in case your bank isn’t giving up, here’s how you might fix the fees…

  1. Ask for a waiver. You might already be eligible based on your bank’s policy – some drop the fee for those who have direct deposit, a minimum balance, use online banking, or hold multiple accounts. Find out the policy, and even if you aren’t exempt, ask anyway. It can’t hurt. (Until they start charging a fee for asking questions.)
  2. Use cash. The old-fashioned way is still a good one. There’s no fee or interest charge on paper money. It’s also harder to overspend with a limited number of bills in your wallet that you have to hand over. And since some small businesses don’t take plastic, cash is always handy. Just make sure you use ATMs from your bank so you don’t get hit with a fee there instead.
  3. Checks. While a little less convenient than cash, there’s still no charge to pay with these, even though they’re just the paper version of a debit card. Ordering checks isn’t free, of course, so it’s not the best choice for saving money.
  4. Try credit cards. Banks still get “swipe fees” with this option, but not from you – from the retailer. As long as you pay off your balance each month, this route is as cheap as cash and more convenient. And if you have a rewards card, you may even make a little back.
  5. Switch banks. If the debit card fee is simply the last straw, move on. Many smaller banks and credit unions aren’t charging debit fees (although they may have others). In fact, Tropical Financial Credit Union in South Florida is flirting with Bank of America malcontents by paying its customers to use debit cards – up to $5 per month. As Stacy mentioned, credit unions also have better rates on savings accounts and loans too. Check out 7 Steps to Switch to a Better Bank for a walk through the process of changing banks.

For-profit banking is a never-ending game of Whack-a-Mole – smack down one fee and you’ll soon see another rear its head. Keep the hammer handy and check out 5 Ways to Lower Your Banking Fees.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: Lookin’ Good! How to Get a Killer Deal on Eyeglasses

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,902 more deals!