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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...
401(k) Fees: Know What You’re Paying, What You’re Getting
Check out this scenario laid out by the U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration: For someone with 35 years until retirement and a 401(k) plan valued at $25,000, fees can make a big difference. If the investments in such an account return 7% annually and fees are 0.5% of all plan assets, that 401(k) plan will grow to $227,000 by the time the recipient hits retirement age—even if the recipient doesn't drop a single additional dime into the plan. But what if the 401(k) plan fees were 1.5% instead of 0.5%? Then the retirement landscape isn't so bright. Instead of $227,000, the plan participant would only earn $163,000. In other words, fees alone would cut an additional 28% of the 401(k)'s account balance by retirement. These steps can help minimize the negative effect of fees on your plan performance: Talk to your employee benefit representatives—Your human resources department or...
Don’t Let Fees Take Their Toll
Consumers are willing to pay for convenient financial services, such as automated teller machine use. But how much is too much? Some fees finance the research and development of future products and services. Still other fees are used to modify negative behaviors, such as routinely writing checks against nonexistent funds. But when it comes to fees, you can trace the difference between how many and how much to one major philosophical difference in the way credit unions and banks operate. Banks are for-profit institutions: The profit motive influences the number and size of their fees. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. Because there's no pressure from profit-minded stockholders, Priority First charges fees to enable us to provide more convenient and useful services for our members. That explains why credit unions usually charge fewer and lower fees than banks. How much can members save just by using a credit union share draft...

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