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Credit Union Members Enjoy Low Fees
In today's credit crunch, more consumers are fighting back against the high transaction fees charged by their banks. But credit union members have a much more effective way of influencing fees and other charges--as member-owners, you keep fees down simply by using credit union services. The more services you use, the more cost-effective all services become. And credit union fees are low to begin with, because credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives that return income to members in the form of lower fees and loan rates and higher savings rates. Here are some examples of how credit unions benefit their members from CUNA's Economics and Statistics December 2013 report: *The average interest rate for a credit card from a credit union was 4.34% lower than a bank's interest rate, 11.44% compared to 15.78%. *Money market accounts at credit unions earned an average interest rate of .17%, while the same...
Smart Money Management Skills Help Avoid Overdraft Fees
Debit card use is growing. Debit card payments accounted for 43% of 110 billion transactions in 2011, an increase from 19.4% in 2003, according a study from Moebs Services, Lake Forest, Ill. That was the year that the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (Check 21 Act) was enacted. Check 21 eliminated the "float" on checks that kept many consumers from overdrawing their accounts. The lack of float and increased debit card use has made the time between initiating payment and depositing payment almost nonexistent. With 87% of checking account users not reconciling their checking accounts, the probability that the average consumer will overdraw is immeasurably increased, according to the Moebs study. Though credit unions' median charge for an overdraft is less than the national median for all financial institutions, and is much lower than what Wall Street banks charge, you can avoid overdraft fees altogether...
Fees Happening at a Checkout Near You
A court settlement between retailers and the payments industry allows retailers--brick-and-mortar stores and onine merchants--to pass their credit card acceptance costs on to consumers in the form of a fee. Retailers can decide whether or not to charge this fee, according to the Electronic Payments Coalition, Washington, D.C. Here are steps you can take to avoid checkout fees: • Shop around. Merchants are allowed to charge a fee equivalent to what they'll pay to accept your card, typically between 1.5% and 3% of the total purchase. Some merchants won't charge fees for using a credit or charge card. Before you get to the cash register, look for in-store signage or ask a sales person if you'll be charged a fee. If you will, consider shopping elsewhere. • Know your rights. By law, merchants can't surprise you with fees at the last minute, try to hide fees, or overcharge...

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NEW -Kmart announces breach possibly affecting credit and debit cards (Reuters).