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Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Lesson of Caution: Avoiding Hidden Fees & Deceptive Banking Practices

From this evening's broadcast of NBC Nightly News (with Brian Williams), 06/14/2012:


While some banks are moving toward simpler, more consumer-friendly disclosures, others continue to hit customers with “hidden fees and deceptive practices,” according to a recent study by the Pew Charitable Trust analyzing the practices of the country's largest banks and credit unions.
For the complete story, please view the following videos from this evening's broadcast on the subject:

video

video

A final word on avoiding questionable banking practices, consumer groups offer these tips to keep more of your money in your account:

• Read all disclosure documents thoroughly.
• Monitor your bank statements closely.
• Sign up for email or text alerts so you know when your account balance is running low.
• Ask questions of the bank about the types of fees they charge and the terms and conditions of the account.
• Consider linking your checking account to a savings account to cover potential overdrafts.
• Shop around. Compare banks and find one that charges the lowest or fewest fees.
• Provide yourself a cushion. This is easier said than done, but it can save a lot of heartache down the road.
• Know the difference between opting out and opting in. If you opt out of overdraft protection, you won't be able to use your debit card if you don't have enough money in your account. You may be embarrassed, but you won’t pay a fee.

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