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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

Beware of Sneak Attack Bank Fees

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By Clark Howard

While you've been enjoying egg nog this holiday season, your bank was hoping you wouldn't notice they were trying to pull another fast one on you.

Bank fees: A little coal in your stocking

Banks use December as one of their favorite months to put a lump of coal in your stocking. Years ago, a listener who happened to be a disgruntled bank employee shared a trade publication called Fee Income Report with me. In the pages of Fee Income Report, bankers exchange tips about ways to take advantage of customers via fees.

I learned from the publication that banks typically raise fees and change terms and conditions twice a year: Once during the summer (usually in August) and then again around Christmas. Why these 2 months? Because those are the 2 times of year when most people are out of their routine and focusing on family and vacation. Perfect times to stick you with a gotcha, right?

People are so busy this time of year that they're often not checking their bank statements and credit card statements. Bad move. You've got to check your statements each month, line by line. You are now warned this is one time of year that banks are going to try to eat you up!

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