Banking regulations imposed in 2010 after the financial crisis resulted in an explosion of hidden bank fees.
While the regulations clamped down on some fees, banks responded by inventing a multitude of new ones to recover their losses from the new regulations. Ever since, banks have been devising new ways to charge fees in order to make up for the lost revenue from these tougher regulations.
How aware are you of all the ways your bank might be nickel and diming you to death? Take our brief quiz and find out.
1. 2010 banking regulations lowered the cost of checking, savings and credit card accounts.
False. 2010 regulations prevent banks from charging some fees, but they are finding ways to make up for that lost revenue. Particularly as interest rates remain at near zero levels, banks continue to look for new revenue streams.
2. America’s big three banks — JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo — raised more than $4 billion from ATM and rising overdraft fees alone in 2015.
False. They raised more than $6 billion.
3. Currency conversion fees charged by my bank can be up to 5% of the transaction price.
True. And these aren’t the only fees you may be charged for foreign transactions.
4. I can avoid overdraft charges by linking my checking and savings account, and using funds in savings to cover any lack of funds in checking.
False. Not only might you occur overdraft charges, but transfer charges as well for the bank having moved money from savings to checking to cover the overdraft.
5. My bank cannot charge me an inactivity fee if I don’t use my credit card.
True. In 2010, congress and the Fed enacted new regulations banning inactivity fees. Your bank cannot charge you an inactivity fee if you don’t use your credit card.
6. My bank processes transactions in the order they occur.
False. Your bank may process payments each day from largest to smallest, then impose overdraft and transfer fees, then apply deposits. Even if you make a deposit at first light that covers your payments for the day, you could still see overdraft and transfer fees because transactions are accounted for out of sequence.
7. I can avoid maintenance fees by maintaining a minimum balance.
False. Your bank might also require you to maintain multiple accounts in order to avoid maintenance fees.
8. My bank must disclose all the fees that I might incur and for what reason at the time I open the account.
True. The 1991 Truth in Savings Act requires federally-insured banks to disclose the rules and fees you agree to when you open an account—and provide notice of any changes 30 days in advance.
International bank transfers can cost up to $40.
False. Additional fees may be incurred including the cost of currency exchange on both ends of the transaction.
9. After I close my account, my bank can still keep records of my banking activity for several years.
True. Banks routinely keep bank records for several years after accounts are closed—in case the IRS calls.
In closing, here’s a list of all the fees you need to watch out for—and negotiate away, if possible.
- Checking account fees
- Minimum balance charges
- Overdraft charges
- Returned deposit charge
- ATM fees
- Bank wire fees
- Foreign transaction charges
- Lost card fee
- Inactivity fee
- Account closing fee
- Stop payment charge
- Paper statement fees