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Monthly and Annual Service Fees

Monthly and annual fees are standard with certain types of bank accounts. However, your bank may waive the fees if you comply with certain stipulations -- think maintaining a minimum balance or making a certain number of debit card purchases. But fall below that balance or miss those required debit transactions and count on the bank hitting you with penalties.

You may also be able to save money in monthly or annual fees by banking exclusively online, which generally requires you open and use your account from the bank's Web site and receive statements electronically. In January 2011, Bank of America waived the $8.95 monthly fee for its eBanking account for customers who bank exclusively online or at ATMs [sources: Waters and Bank of America]. At the same time, Wachovia offered its Free Checking account with no paper statements and access to its online and mobile banking [source: Wachovia].

By law, your bank is responsible for letting you know when your account rules or rates change, and this includes scheduled fees [source: FDIC]. Stay aware of these changes and budget for them by reading the notices your bank sends.

The next fee could buy you lower costs for other services.

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