How to Avoid the Worst Fees in America

How to Avoid the Worst Fees in America

By Beth Braverman

Nothing gets under the skin of a savvy consumer like unwarranted and unwanted fees.

The Web site has put together a list of the “31 Worst Fees in America,” listing some of the most egregious fees out there, as well as tips on two avoid them. The list includes 11 banking fees, 10 travel fees, and handful of fees from other categories such as health care and cell phones.

“At the bank, while traveling, or just when going about your daily business, fees are on the rise in seemingly all industries—and not just in quantity, but in price,” writes author Paul Sisolak. “Many times, they’re so well obscured that you end up paying fees without realizing it.”

The good news is that in most cases, there’s an easy fix for the fees: Avoid bank teller fees, for example, by using remote deposit and ATMs; and steer clear of ATM fees by using your bank’s app to find the nearest in-network machine.

Related: 10 Infuriating Consumer Fees to Stop Paying Now

While bank fees may be rising, the institutions are getting better about being transparent in disclosing them. More than 60 percent of the banks reviewed last week by The Pew Charitable Trusts have adopted a summary disclosure box of terms and fees that meets the organization’s standards, up from just 25 percent in 2013.

When it comes to avoiding fees while traveling, pack light to avoid overweight bag charges and call ahead of time to get a sense of Wi-Fi and other hotel/resort fees.

Chart of the Day: A Buying Binge Driven by Tax Cuts

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Wall Street Journal reports that the tax cuts and economic environment are prompting U.S. companies to go on a buying binge: “Mergers and acquisitions announced by U.S. acquirers so far in 2018 are running at the highest dollar volume since the first two months of 2000, according to Dealogic. Thomson Reuters, which publishes slightly different numbers, puts it at the highest since the start of 2007.”

Number of the Day: 5.5 Percent

The debate over national health care aside, more Americans today say they get "excellent health care" than did in the early 2000s, according to <a href="" target="_blank"
Getty Images
By Yuval Rosenberg

Health care spending in the U.S. will grow at an average annual rate of 5.5 percent from 2017 through 2026, according to new estimates published in Health Affairs by the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The projections mean that health care spending would rise as a share of the economy from 17.9 percent in 2016 to 19.7 percent in 2026.

Part of the Shutdown-Ending Deal: $31 Billion More in Tax Cuts

The U.S. Capitol building is lit at dusk ahead of planned votes on tax reform in Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017.   REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/Files
Joshua Roberts
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Margot Sanger-Katz and Jim Tankersley in The New York Times: “The deal struck by Democrats and Republicans on Monday to end a brief government shutdown contains $31 billion in tax cuts, including a temporary delay in implementing three health care-related taxes.”

“Those delays, which enjoy varying degrees of bipartisan support, are not offset by any spending cuts or tax increases, and thus will add to a federal budget deficit that is already projected to increase rapidly as last year’s mammoth new tax law takes effect.”

IRS Paid $20 Million to Collect $6.7 Million in Tax Debts

The IRS provides second chances to get your tax return right with Form 1040X.
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Congress passed a law in 2015 requiring the IRS to use private debt collection agencies to pursue “inactive tax receivables,” but the financial results are not encouraging so far, according to a new taxpayer advocate report out Wednesday.

In fiscal year 2017, the IRS received $6.7 million from taxpayers whose debts were assigned to private collection agencies, but the agencies were paid $20 million – “three times the amount collected,” the report helpfully points out.

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