Avoid hidden banking fees

Your ATM or debit-card transaction could still go through if you don't have enough money to cover it, but you'll be charged an overdraft fee.

You have to agree to gain that "protection" or have your transaction denied due to insufficient funds. Yet confusion abounds.

In 2012, the Pew Charitable Trusts found 54% of respondents surveyed who had overdrawn their accounts didn't believe they’d opted for coverage, while three-quarters said they'd rather have a transaction declined than pay an average $35 overdraft fee.

Susan Weinstock, director of the Pew project Safe Checking in the Electronic Age, says customers believe they have to sign the forms presented to them, when signing means you're opting in. (You can still be charged a fee without opting in if you overdraw using a check or online bill payment.)

Smart move: Don't sign any opt-in forms (if you already have, tell your bank you want out).

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