Develop a plan to deal with fees

It happens all the time. You open your bank statement or credit card bill, and there's a new fee assessed to your account that you hadn't counted on. Banks and credit card companies make billions a year from such fees.

To beat the fees, you'll need a strategy. From Kiplinger Magazine, here are tactics to consider:

Don't get complacent. Part of the reason that so many customers end up paying fees is they don't contest them. If fees show up on your account statement and you don't agree, place a call to the bank representative. If you are a good customer, banks often will give you a break.

Call on weekends. Few managers work on the weekends, and it might improve your chances of getting the fee excused.

Do your research. Find out just how valuable a customer you are to the bank. Figure out your average monthly credit card balance. If you have more than one card, then figure out the balances on those. If it's a debit card account, write down your average monthly checking balance. Be prepared to say how many years you have been a customer. Use these numbers as ammunition.

Marshall Loeb