Like it or not, some costs are unavoidable.
But others are excessive, blatant and just plain obnoxious. You certainly don’t have to love them – and you don’t have to pay for them either.
Here’s an overview of the fees you should never have to pay.
1. Coin conversion fees
As cash payment has become less common, it has become more expensive to turn your change into bills.
Many banks previously had coin counting machines that account holders could use for free. Now those who have it usually charge for the service. (However, a pandemic-caused coin shortage has led regions — and possibly other banks — to temporarily waive these fees.)
And, of course, many of us no longer physically visit banks – so the only coin counters we come across are those operated by Coinstar in grocery stores.
Coinstar charges a whopping 11.9% service fee plus a 25 cent transaction fee for the pleasure of sitting through all that whirring, rattling, and feeding a few stubborn coins through the machine multiple times.
However, you can avoid these charges in two ways. First, you can redeem your currency for an e-gift card at a wide variety of retailers and services, including Amazon, DoorDash, Home Depot, and Southwest Airlines.
Second, you can sort the coins yourself. Your bank can always give you coin wrappers for free, or you can find them at the dollar store.
If coin sorting and rolling doesn’t seem worth it, but you still hate the expense, you can find common ground by buying your own coin sorter –
this one is a bargain for the one-time flat fee of around $27 on Amazon.
2. ATM fees
Want the privilege of accessing your own money? It will be $4.66, please.
This is the average amount of fees on a transaction via an ATM not managed by your bank, according to a recent study. It takes into account the fees that the owner of the ATM and your bank charge you.
The good news, according to the same study, is that banks are increasingly moving away from the practice of charging customers who use off-network machines. So keep complaining and use one of the roughly 40% banks that are on the right side of the story. We name several in “6 Banks That Waive or Refund ATM Fees”.
If you are unwilling to make the switch, you can generously use your debit card to get small amounts of cash in addition to many retail transactions or make sure you always use your own bank’s ATMs.
3. Certain credit card charges
Few industries are happier than credit cards. Annual fees, late fees, cash advance fees, and foreign transaction fees are just a few of the more common ones.
Many can be avoided with a little diligence. For example, be sure to compare fees when choosing a credit card – they don’t all charge the same types. (We can help you find a credit card that’s right for you.)
You also need to always know how close you are to your credit limit, what your full statement balance is, and when it’s due – this will avoid three of the big charges we outline in “6 Credit Card Charges You Can’t Pay.” you should never pay”.
4. Mutual Fund Sales Charges
Mutual fund sales charges, also known as load fees, are “like commissions,” according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. You may be charged this type of fee in various situations, depending on the fund:
- When you buy shares (entry fee)
- When you sell shares (retrocession fees)
- When you own shares (level loading fees)
That’s a lot of things, okay – these fees are a percentage of the amount you invest. This means that they are proportional to the amount of work you put into making money, not the amount of work some brokers put into moving it.
One way to get around paying these high fees is to invest in no-fee funds. Money Talks News founder and former stockbroker Stacy Johnson explains how to do this in “How Do I Invest in a Mutual Fund?”
5. Hotel Wi-Fi Charges
Paying to use something that many airports, cafes and other businesses give you for free seems a bit unreasonable, doesn’t it?
Sometimes joining a hotel’s loyalty program offers free in-room Wi-Fi as a perk. You can also bring your own Wi-Fi hotspot, although this may mean you only pay a fee to your phone provider.
We’ve got more ideas in “11 Tips to Avoid Ridiculous Hotel Charges”.
6. Bank overdraft fees
Most overdraft fees are paid by people who live paycheck to paycheck – the very people who can least afford to pay them. They are a plague, and luckily some banks are removing them.
So, one way to avoid this type of fee, also known as insufficient funds fee, is to switch banks.
Another is to tell your bank that you’re not interested in paying about $35 every time you don’t have $1 in reserve – federal law allows you to opt out of this type of bank “protection”. . Just be aware that withdrawing means your card will be declined at checkout if you don’t have enough money in your account to cover a charge.
7. Seat selection fees
When we fly somewhere, it’s pretty sure we’re going to pay for where we park our car, luggage, and rear. But airlines have also started trying to charge for the privilege of choosing which remaining corner of the plane you want to cram into when you book a flight.
The way seat selection is presented in the process can make these charges unavoidable – but there’s usually a link or button somewhere on the page to skip seat selection and just let the airline assign you one a.
Another option is to fly on an airline that doesn’t mess with assigned seats, like Southwest.
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