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Breaking Up With Your Bank? Pay Up

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As if banks don't glom on enough fees, here's yet another. Some of the nation's biggest banks are charging customers to close accounts if they've opened them in the previous few months, according to Sovereign Bank, Citibank, PNC Bank and U.S. Bank charge $25 while some smaller institutions hit up customers for as much as $50.

Bank customers may not even be aware of these fees because the disclosures are buried in documents and not easy to understand.

So if you're about to open a new bank account, read the disclosure forms, and when in doubt, ask if customers are charged a fee for closing a checking or savings account within a certain period of time.

While we're on the subject of fees, a new study points out that some prepaid cards are loaded with charges that take a bite out of your balance. But there are ways to avoid the fees and keep your money intact. The  consumer group Consumer Action reviewed 28  prepaid cards and offered these tips :

- Don't use cards that charge you transaction fees for making purchases with your personal identification number (PIN).

- Instead of paying ATM withdrawal fees, request cash back for free when you're making a purchase at a store using your PIN number.

- Look for cards that offer free cash withdrawals at in-network ATMs.  compared 59 prepaid cards and their fees. Plug in your information and find the one that works best for you.



Illustration credit: MK Perker via Flickr

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