Once again banks are sticking it to their customers with new fees. Commercial banks are trying everyway possible to make up for lost overdraft fee income.  One of the new tactics that banks are trying is to abolish free checking and to hit their already cash strapped customers with account service charges. Beginning July 1st customers will have to pay for everything from checks and paper statements to fees for not using their debit card often enough. Banks have come up with new ways to make you pay for the privilege of letting them hold onto your money. Don’t fret, you do have options!

Here are a few options to avoid these new bank fees

Join your local credit union.

Unlike commercial banks, credit unions are not giant faceless corporations that exist solely for a profit. Credit unions are not for profit cooperatives in which the members are a part of the ownership team. Credit unions still offer free checking and savings account with no account minimums.

Open an online account.

If you don’t have an online savings account by now, what are your waiting for? Online savings accounts pay much higher interest rates than commercial banks and are free of fees. Sites like ING Direct, Emigrant Direct, and Ally Bank offer savings accounts with no minimum deposit amounts or fees.

Use more bank products.

If you still want to stay at your banking institution, you can avoid paying fees by using more bank services. You can enroll in paperless checking, invest in a CD, open a brokerage account or apply for a new credit card. Banks are waiving fees for customers that use more bank products. The more business that you transact at your commercial bank, the lower the fees that you will be charged.

Use the ATM machine

Customers that use ATM machines and electronic banking only can get their fees waived at some banks. You may have to think twice before going into a bank and speaking with a teller because that will cost you. Your account would be hit with a monthly maintenance fee for transacting business with a bank teller.

Check out your local bank.

There is a big difference between local banks and commercial banks. Smaller banks tend to value your business more. You are just an account number to a large bank. Your business actually matters at small community banks. While Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Fifth Third Bank are all eliminating free checking, most local banks are holding onto it. So, go visit your local bank and tell your big bank to take a hike!