Banks Unveil New Fees On Customers As banks grapple with fewer customers, and new government regulation, they are testing out new fees on customers to see how much they will tolerate. Ron Lieber, a personal finance columnist for The New York Times, discusses what consumers can do.
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Banks Unveil New Fees On Customers

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Banks Unveil New Fees On Customers

Banks Unveil New Fees On Customers

Banks Unveil New Fees On Customers

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As banks grapple with fewer customers, and new government regulation, they are testing out new fees on customers to see how much they will tolerate. Ron Lieber, a personal finance columnist for The New York Times, discusses what consumers can do.

DON GONYEA, Host:

Ron, thanks for joining us.

RON LIEBER: Thanks for having me.

GONYEA: So are credit card issuers - and we're talking about banks here, right?

LIEBER: We are.

GONYEA: Are they adding these new fees on because they really need to, because they can?

LIEBER: Well, I think it's both reasons. On the need-to front, there's been a whole bunch of new legislation recently that affects them. There was the credit card act, which imposes a whole bunch of new rules and limits fees in various ways and changes related to overdraft fees. Both those things will cost big banks potentially billions of dollars, and they need to find a way to make it up. And so they're pulling every lever that they have available to them to try and make it happen.

GONYEA: So we listed a few things that they're doing - you know, the fees for inactivity. Are there things that you've seen that surprise you, that have kind of stunned you, that have prompted you to say, gee, I never would've thought of that?

LIEBER: So, you know, they want to protect themselves. And, more importantly, they want you to use the card, because if you use the card, you might generate more fees.

GONYEA: Is there an inactivity threshold that you've noticed that seems to be the tipping point for them?

LIEBER: So that's an easy way to do it. You can also do it at the grocery store when you're buying stuff.

GONYEA: Maybe the day when the customer was king has passed. But does the cardholder have any leverage when it comes to getting some of these fees waived?

LIEBER: But if you have good credit, you can leave anytime you want to and apply for a different card that will be happy to have you. And it's helpful to, you know, call up and remind the card company that you do have the ability to walk away, because sometimes they'll waive the fee for a year or more. It certainly doesn't hurt to ask.

GONYEA: Ron, thanks for joining us.

LIEBER: Thanks for having me on.

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