New bank fees and how to avoid them

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- As banks find ways to recover from the struggling economy and keep their profits up, they are not only increasing the fees you already pay, but adding new ones, as well.

Financial expert Sharon Lechter ran down some of those new fees and offered some tips to help you avoid them and keep more of your money in your account.

Potential new and increased bank fees

1. Checking account monthly maintenance fees; free checking is becoming a thing of the past

2. Overdraft and overdraft-protection fees

3. ATM use

4. Paper statements

5. Certified checks, money orders and online bill paying

6. Wire transfers (in and out)

7. Stop payment orders on checks

8. Talking to live tellers, making phone payments

9. Replacing lost cards

10. Closing accounts

What you can do to minimize fees

1. Talk to your bankers about their policies

2. Use direct deposit

3. Consider online statements (you can print them if you want hard copies)

4. Link accounts at one bank

5. Keep minimum balances

While it might not feel like it, you are in control of your money.

"Don't blame your bank." Lechter said. "Look at what your habits are. Maybe you can change your habits to make sure you get rid of those fees."

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