12 Steps to Kick Your Bank Fee Addiction

Last Updated Oct 12, 2011 4:22 PM EDT

Feel like you're powerless to avoid bank fees, particularly in the wake of Bank of America's new $5 debit card fee and Citibank's announcement that many customers will pay more for checking accounts?

It's true that bank fees are rising, seemingly everywhere. Indeed, where three-quarters of the nation's banks offered free checking in 2009, only 45% do today, according to BankRate.com, which conducts an annual survey of checking account costs. Average fees have jumped as much as 76%, while the balances required to avoid a fee has roughly doubled.

But you don't have to pay more. In fact, you may well be able to get more (or better) bank services for less money. You just need to follow our 12-step program (apologies and thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous) to kick your addiction to big bank fees.

Step One: Accept that you are powerless over addiction.