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4 Ways Americans Keep Wasting Their Money

Stocks in this article: AMZNNFLXEXBDMA

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- The Kardashian Kard is no more.

The prepaid debit card promoted by the surgically enhanced coven of Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian will no longer occupy tweener wallets. It was announced Monday that the reality show trio has yanked the Master Card (MA)-branded plastic that bore their images following consumer group outrage and a threatened investigation by Connecticut's attorney general.

Credit Cards
Fees on credit and debit cards are just the beginning of calculating how much money consumers lose each year -- but a good one. Average credit card debt per spendthrift household is estimated at $15,788.

Among the laundry list of fees attached to the card (which, a statement from the issuer showed, had only about 250 takers) were $99.95 for the initial card purchase and 12 months of fees, a $7.95 monthly fee after the initial purchase period, $1.50 for ATM withdrawals, $2 for bill pay (each item) and $9.95 for a card replacement. Even canceling the card would set you back $6.

Before one gets too amazed at the audacity of these fees, keep in mind that millions of Americans lose thousands of dollars every year in equally unnecessary expenses, fees, interest, convenience charges and paid for, but unused, services.

1. Credit cards
Any conversation about wasted money will inevitable turn to credit cards and the hefty price paid for their convenience.

There are approximately 610 million credit cards held in the United States, and the average credit card debt per household that has such debt is $15,788, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and CreditCards.com, part of the Bankrate Online Network.

The site crunched out that the average APR on a credit card with a balance is just shy of 15%. Total U.S. revolving debt (98% of which is made up of credit card debt) was $852.6 billion as of March.

All of these factoids add up to megabucks being handed over to credit cards companies each year. Even with regulations imposed by federal reforms this year, it is unlikely Americans will stop carrying over balances, and paying the price for doing so, any time soon.

2. Overdraft fees
Once considered a devastating and embarrassing faux pas, consumers these days actually seem to relish the opportunity to kite checks. As many as 75% of bank customers have opted to keep overdraft "protection" and the fees incurred, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Illinois-based Moebs $ervices, a banking analyst, estimates banks will collect upward of $38 billion in overdraft fees next year, up from this year's estimated $35.4 billion. Last year, $37.1 billion was collected from overdrawn consumers, and the median overdraft price increased to $28 per check this year from $26 in 2009.

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