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Avoid being hit with additional fees

Date posted:  11/12/14 01:30:00 AM Avoid using ATMs that aren't sponsored by your bank branch.

Are you looking for a way to pad your bank account? Try making a concerted effort to avoid unwarranted fees. According to The Buffalo News, consumers pay $2.4 billion per year in credit card late fees and $800 million in expedited payment fees to avoid some of those late charges.

Consumers also dole out massive amounts of cash for overdraft fees, chalking up to an annual $31 billion in debit card overdraft costs. Credit cards aren't the only companies diving into your wallet with fees. Airlines are notorious for add-ons, reeling you in with low fares only to later hit you with every possible charge in the book by the time you get to the airport.

Spirit Airlines often pops up in travel searches for low-cost flights, but the company makes up for the low costs by nickel-and-diming its customers. The Buffalo News reported Spirit asks for $90 to check your first bag at the airport, $110 for the second and $100 per carry-on for a round trip. All of a sudden, that super cheap flight to Las Vegas doesn't look so cost-efficient.

Avoid additional fees

Fees are the bane of many people's existence, so don't get drawn into them when you don't need to. Try to use your bank's ATM machines to avoid being charged withdrawal fees at other ATMs. If you can't find your bank's ATM machines while out and about, you can go to a grocery store, buy a pack of gum and ask for cash back, which does not charge you for the transaction.

You can also avoid banking fees by signing up for a direct deposit, maintaining minimum balances or switching to a credit union, according to The Buffalo News.

If you're constantly hit with credit card fees, avoid signing up for a card with an annual tariff. Only five percent of credit cards ask for an annual fee, so it shouldn't be too hard to stay away from one.

Identifying credit card fees
Beau Adams, chief financial officer at Farmers State Bank., told the Methow Valley that people consistently struggle with identifying credit card fees.

"It is probably one of the more complicated parts of banking - Visa and MasterCard have a slew of rates," said Adams, noting you should take your time when paying off your credit card to make sure you aren't being charged for any unwarranted fees.