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Hidden fees you don't have to pay for can cost you hundreds a year

Many people pay for fees that are easily avoided
ATM card skimming incidents up 546 percent
Posted at 5:22 AM, Oct 23, 2023

Inflation may not be boiling over anymore, but it's still pretty hot. And that is why you never want to get stuck paying fees you can easily avoid.

We are constantly hit with fees at hotels, fees for shipping, and those annoying fees at banks. Nonprofit group Consumers' Checklist recently posted a list of the "65 Things You Probably Shouldn't Pay For."

Bank fees to avoid

Many things to avoid are silly fees, starting with those you get stuck paying at an ATM not owned by your bank. Executive editor of Consumers' Checklist Kevin Brasler suggests you use only in-network ATMs if possible.

If not, check with your bank.

"A lot of banks and many credit unions these days will refund any ATM fees you've had to pay when using machines out of their networks," he says.

Other bank fees include monthly checking account maintenance fees if you don't have a large enough balance and overdraft fees.

Service fees to avoid

And how about monthly fees for services you never use?

Brasler recommends auditing fees you pay and seeing if you get enough use out of them. Among them:

  • Gyms, if you find you don't have time to go.
  • Streaming TV services you never watch.
  • Subscriptions like Amazon Prime if you rarely order from them.

"A lot of people signed up for Prime back in the days when that was really the only way to get free shipping out of Amazon," Brasler said. "But now most orders over $35, even if you're not a Prime member, come with free shipping."

Travel fees to avoid

Lastly, when traveling, Brasler says you should never have to pay early or late check-in fees at hotels.

"Often, just joining that hotel chain's frequent traveler program gets fees waived to get a few hour extra hours before you have to check out," Brasler said.

That program may also get you a room upgrade or at least a complimentary bottled water and snack at check-in.

Curtis Johnson says extra fees can really ruin your day.

"It's just a headache," he said while taking cash out of an ATM. "It's really unnecessary."

So check to see what fees you pay that can easily be avoided.

That way you don't waste your money.

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