If you use credit cards or ATMs, you have probably been charged fees. Finance Charge fees and Out of Network ATM fees are a few ways that financial institutions make money by loaning us or handling our money.
In the past there was no way of avoiding paying those charges- once you paid them, the money was gone.
Now there are websites, apps, and programs that can help consumers recoup the fees that they have paid out. Here are a couple that I have looked into or used.
Harvest links your bank accounts and credit card accounts to their AI and once every 90 days you can request their program contact those institutions on your behalf to credit previously paid fees. Harvest takes a portion of those fees. Harvest was not able to get any money back on my behalf. I have only been using it for about 50 days. Once my 90 days are up and I can re-negotiate, I will try it again.
Cushion: I looked into Cushion, but did not use it, because it costs on average $50/year. I don’t have a lot of outstanding debt, so there was no way that I could save that much from their AI negotiations. Also, there is this:
Basically, you don’t get the money credited back to you, you earn “rewards” through Cushion’s program. A quick internet search leads me to believe that it’s mostly Amazon Gift Cards, which as much as I love Amazon Gift Cards is not what I want. I want cold hard cash in my hot little paws.
I recommend that everyone look at their bank account at least monthly (I do it once a week when I balance the checkbook-yes, I do that) and look for any fees or charges that may not look familiar. Doing the same with your credit card statement when it comes as well is a great idea. Recently I caught a $90 charge that was fraudulent. A quick call to American Express and I filed a dispute, the charge was removed and all is well!
If you find a lot of ATM usage fees on your bank statement, download your banks app to locate fee-free ATMs. My credit union has fee-free ATMs at 7/11’s!
Note that I use the term Bank- I use this interchangeably for credit union, as that’s what I use. I have been a member of a credit union for almost 30 years. There is no monthly fee for having a checking or savings account, and I have my car loan through them as well (the rate is really low). Credit Unions are great because they offer low rates, and no or low account fees. And usually, membership is free.
If you have used a service like Harvest or Cushion with success, I’d love to hear your results! Leave a comment below.