Saving with 6abc: Don't pay unnecessary fees

April 14, 2014

The experts at Consumer Reports say Americans cough up nearly $33 billion a year on largely unnecessary fees.

One of the worst offenders: Banks.

First up avoid ATM withdrawal fees, which can run up to $3 a transaction, by using your own bank's machines. If that's not an option, find a fee-free ATM network or tap the cash-back feature many stores offer when you pay by debit card. You can also get around those checking fees, which cost up to $15 a month, by signing up for direct deposit and switching to a credit union or community bank that offers free checking.

If overdraft fees are a problem, many banks let you sign up for email or text alerts that tell you when your balance is low, saving you up to $35.

Next up, annual credit-card fees which can cost up to $495 a year.

Did you know that only 5% of cards have them? Why not shop for no-fee options at

Also, there's almost no need to drop $17 for a credit-report. You can get a free copy once a year from each of the three big credit bureaus.

You can sidestep airline telephone-booking fees that can run as much as $35 a ticket by reserving and buying online.

In addition, make sure you check out the baggage fees before booking. According to, JetBlue and Southwest offer one or two free checked bags.

For details on all the fees we mentioned, plus a few more you shouldn't be paying, check out the full report from .

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