Pharos-Tribune

Business

February 2, 2014

Consumer Reports: Costly fees never to pay

Fees! Consumer Reports hates them as much as you do. And not just because all of that nickel-and-diming adds up to a pretty penny. It’s also because they can be hard to escape.

Consumers pay $2.4 billion per year in credit card late fees — and $800 million in expedited payment fees to avoid those late charges. We cough up $31 billion annually in debit card overdraft fees. That’s a lot of $30-a-pop penalties for payments that banks authorized in the first place.

Airline fees can be just as bad. Spirit Airlines, for example, ropes you in with its claim of “ultra-low fares,” then gouges you for $90 to check your first bag at the airport, $110 for the second and $100 per carry-on (round-trip).

Still, many fees can be avoided or minimized. Consumer Reports offers this guide:

• Banking. Banks often give you an escape hatch, so use it to save. Avoid ATM withdrawal fees, usually $2 to $3, by using your own bank’s machines or fee-free ATM network. Or tap the cash back features many supermarkets offer when you pay by debit card.

Avoid big-bank checking fees of $8 to $15 per month by signing up for direct deposit, maintaining minimum balances or switching to a credit union, community bank or branchless online or smartphone virtual bank, where free checking is more common.

• Credit. It’s easy to avoid $65 to $495 in credit card annual fees because only 5 percent of credit cards have them; shop for no-fee, low-interest rate options at bankrate.com. Stop overlimit fees by contacting your card issuer to opt out of plans that let you charge beyond your credit limit.

Knowing your consumer rights is the key to fee-zapping here. There’s almost no need to pay $12 to $17 in credit report fees, because you can get a free copy once per year from each of the three big credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — at annualcreditreport.com.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Business
  • BIZ-PT042014 Property Values.jpg Coming due: Logansport sees dramatic property tax increase Property owners around Cass County have been getting tax bills in the mail over the last week -- and some have found unexpected increases in their bills. As the May 12 deadline approaches to pay the first half of year 2013 property taxes, Cass County

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Logansport Curves up for sale Logansport's Curves franchise is up for sale, its manager says. Owner Angie Wisler and manager Audrey Eaker, Wisler's daughter, intend to simplify their lives by selling the Logansport franchise as well as their Delphi Curves franchise, Eaker said. T

    April 20, 2014

  • Business news in brief, April 20 O'Brien joins law firm New attorney Jacob O'Brien recently joined the law firm of Starr Austen and Miller as an associate attorney. O'Brien, a 2004 Logansport High School graduate, earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from Indiana University Bloom

    April 20, 2014

  • COMMERCE TALK: Spring means activity at chamber Spring is here and we are busy with lots of events at the Chamber of Commerce. New this year, the chamber has partnered with the Cass County Resource Network to offer HYPE (Helping YOU Pursue Excellence) Together classes. These are free or minimal co

    April 20, 2014

  • Consumer Reports: Extended warranties an expensive gamble Looking for an easy way to save hundreds on your next new car and simplify the buying process at the same time? Skip the extended warranty, says Consumer Reports. The dealer will probably try hard to sell you one, telling horror stories about the th

    April 20, 2014

  • SMART MONEY: Charity receiving estate will handle probate DEAR BRUCE: I hope you can help us figure out what to do. I am 76 years old, and my husband is 78. We are thinking about getting a trust to avoid probate when we pass away. We have been to many seminars discussing this matter, and I still don't under

    April 20, 2014

  • BIZ-PT041314 SecFed3.jpg From the inside out: Rebranding transforming Security Federal The rope barriers are gone from Security Federal Savings Bank's downtown offices. Lettering on the floor replaced them, advising bank customers to wait a few feet back from the bank tellers' desks. Each teller's station is flanked by wood panels that

    April 13, 2014 5 Photos

  • Women's boutique open along Eel River A girls' and women's accessories boutique recently opened near the west entrance to the River Bluff Trail in Logansport. Glam Girl Boutique owner Megan Ramirez said she's focusing on selling inexpensive women's accessories and girls' accessories and

    April 13, 2014

  • BIZ-PT041314 Haley Jasmantas.jpg Business news in brief, April 13 Carroll chamber has Business After Hours FLORA -- The Carroll County Chamber of Commerce will have a Business After Hours event from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Sycamore Industrial Park located on Ind. 75 just south of Ind. 18 in Flora. Visitors may to

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • ON THE JOB: Keeping a work-life balance Being a working mom with a full-time career sometimes has me in a rut. I have to really focus on balancing work, life, family and, of course, "me" time. This task is a lot harder than I thought it would be when I first became a mom. One of my favorit

    April 13, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.