Personal Finance Round-Up: Fees, Fees, and More Fees

feesIt seems like everywhere you go, there’s a fee. Whether you’re at the bank purchasing a cell phone, or simply withdrawing your money out of a nearby ATM, you have to pay extra. There are setup fees, activation fees, and even early termination fees.

Had enough? It may be getting worse. According to a recent MSN Money article, Credit Card Check Out Fees by Beverly Blair Harzog, as of January 27, 2013, merchants are allowed to change a fee for accepting MasterCard and Visa. Merchants currently pay for you to swipe your credit card – and this fee can now be handed over to the consumer, with a tacked-on fee of 1.5% to 4% of the purchase price.

Fortunately, 10 states have already chosen to ban this practice. And in the states where it is allowed, it does not mean that retailers will implement this charge – it is entirely up to the individual store’s discretion. To be on alert as a consumer, keep an eye out for a sign at the retailer’s entrance or register to determine whether this fee has been implemented.

Remember: This fee does not apply to debit cards, and if you ever feel you’re being treated unfairly, you always have the right to go elsewhere.

Here are several other articles that can help you make smart decisions with your money:

How Having an Emergency Fund Can Help You Save on Insurance Premiums [Christian Personal Finance]
Having a good credit score can save you money on certain interest rates – but so can┬áhaving an emergency fund. In fact, your emergency fund may someday get you out of a financial jam, but having one now provides the added perk of helping you to save money on insurance premiums.

The Four Basic Financial Accounts Everyone Should Have [MintLife]
Matthew Amester-Burton from Mint discusses the basic set of financial accounts one must have to keep things simple and secure when managing money. Here are the four essentials everyone should have.

How to Borrow If You Are Bankrupt [Money Smart Life]
It’s hard to recover from bankruptcy, and it’s tough to find a lender after you file. However, Miranda Marquit explains how you can borrow, as well as what you should expect to face.

How to Retire Abroad: Ecuador [Yahoo]
According to the Annual Global Retirement Index of the Publication of International Living, Ecuador is the place to be when it comes to retirement. Experts from the website look at a number of factors that make it tops, including the climate, the cost of living, and the friendliness of the people.

Best Overseas Retirement Options for 2013 [U.S. News]
Looking to retire overseas? Deciding where to go can be an overwhelming decision to make. This article highlights the best overseas option in 2013 based on cost and weather.

Laurel Touby’s Advice for Growing a Small Business [DIY Business Association]
“I started as a writer, and never in a million years did I want to be a businessperson,” says Laurel Touby, founder of Mediabistro. “But eventually, I couldn’t resist it. I started something that people valued and made money, so I was defacto in business.” Read her tips to help make your business flourish.

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    Credit card fees are because the retailer has to pay an extortionate amount to the card clearing companies and, indirectly, to Mastercard/Visa, for the clearing. This process has to be paid for but the amounts charged are now way out of proportion to the costs and the risks of bad debt. Most of these charges are banned in the EU but no-one seems to have taken the card payment organisations to task.