How to Avoid New Bank Fees

New reports suggest consumers often skip over the fine print and get surprised by fees New reports suggest consumers often skip over the fine print and get surprised by fees.

Options for middle-class investors seeking solid financial advice
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Mix and match accounts. You might be able to find a free checking account at one bank and a high-interest savings account at another institution, McBride says. "There's a good argument for maximizing your benefit on each account, even though people value the convenience of having everything under one roof. There's a price to be paid for that," he adds.

[Read: What You Should Know About Savings Accounts.]

Check out online banks. Khalfani-Cox says many online banks don't have monthly maintenance fees, and they typically have lower fees in general. She also recommends consolidating multiple checking or savings accounts into one account in order to more easily meet the minimum balance requirement. Having paychecks and any public benefits (like unemployment checks) automatically deposited can also help avoid going under the minimum balance requirement.

Don't be afraid to switch. If you're not happy with the fees you're paying, then Khalfani-Cox says it's time to shop around for a new bank – or a new credit union. Credit unions typically have lower fees and pay higher interest rates on savings accounts. And that's exactly what many consumers are looking for.