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Five rip-off fees and charges it's time you stopped paying

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From credit card fees to excess data charges, Aussies are forking out millions of dollars each year on easily avoidable rip-offs. While it's easier to take the path of least resistance at times, this is hitting us right where it hurts: the hip pocket.

Here are the top five rip-offs to stop paying in 2020:

ATM fees

atm fees rip-offs

A recent Finder survey revealed that 60% of Aussies aren't aware the Big Four banks axed their ATM fees back in 2017. This means many of us may not always hunt down the fee-free ATMs that are readily available.

A couple of dollars here and there may not seem like much. But this can end up costing you at least $50 per year for a service you could be getting for free. If an average ATM fee is $2, we can conservatively estimate that Aussies have wasted $43 million on withdrawal fees in 2019 alone.

Dodge ATM fees by withdrawing cash from a Commonwealth, Westpac, ANZ or NAB teller machine. You can also get cash out at supermarkets and petrol stations, or open a fee-free debit account.

Excess data charges

Over the past 12 months, Aussies have wasted almost $153 million by exceeding their data limit. ACCC figures show that between June 2018 and May 2019, Aussies chewed through an extra 77,445 terabytes of smartphone data. This means we're consuming roughly 31% more data in just one year.

It's easy to go over your plan if it doesn't include enough gigabytes. Sure, signing up to a new phone contract can be expensive. But it's much better value to pay more for a bigger plan than it is to bump up your data every couple of months.

Credit card surcharges

If you pay with a credit card, some businesses will zap you with a 0.5-3% surcharge fee. This can really pack a punch if you're footing a group bill or paying for larger expenses like flights.

You can sidestep card surcharges by paying with a debit card or cash, or by choosing businesses that don't charge fees. Consider using feeless payment options like POLi, BPAY or PayPal instead of your credit card when booking travel.

Late payment fees

We're all guilty of the occasional late fee, but too many of these can counteract a good deal from your provider.

Avoid late fees on your credit card, Afterpay and utility bills by making the minimum repayment by the due date. Set a calendar reminder the day before to ensure you have enough money in your account. If you can't make the payment, call your provider to let them know. Most providers offer flexible payment options for customers who are struggling financially.

Airport premium location fees

Also referred to as an "airport surcharge" or "concession fee recovery", you'll incur this fee if you pick up a rental car from the airport. In Australia, this fee is charged as a percentage of your total rental cost and ranges anywhere from 5-30%.

The amount you're charged can also vary depending on your insurer and the airport you collect the car from. To avoid premium location fees, rent your car from a dealer outside the airport. Dealers will often pick you up from the airport for free via a shuttle service.

Late fees and surcharges can be a nasty surprise if you aren't aware of them. But understanding what these fees are and how to avoid them means you shouldn't have to pay them in 2020.

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Bessie Hassan is a money expert at Finder.
Comments
Andy Clave
January 16, 2020 12.28pm

Great article, thank you Bessie. Also, a good alternative to the traditional phone plan is the prepaid card. Much cheaper, no risk to go over your data limit and freedom to leave at anytime! Have a good day.

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