A bank is a great place! You put your money in accounts and get to watch it grow if you are careful. Yet, many people give money to their bank all the time, money that is theirs. A bank is a place to hold your money, not take it. Here is a quick guide on how to avoid bank fees.
How to Avoid Bank Fees
Know Your Bank Account Options
Banks and Credit Unions usually have a wide array of accounts to choose from. Some are free and some have charges. Since I treat my checking account as a funnel to where money gets dispersed, I usually have a low balance. I keep extra money in savings. Because of that an account that requires me to have a certain balance or I will be assessed a fee is not the account for me. Look over the accounts available and ask any question you may have. Also be sure to read the fine print.
You can shop around for a bank that has the account type you are comfortable with.
Avoid Overdraft charges
Honestly, overdraft charges are just a sign of laziness. With today’s online access to our accounts, you should always have knowledge of what is going in, going out, and what your balance is. Do not spend more than you have and everything will be OK.
Avoid ATM Fees
Again, many banks have online banking so you should be able to check your balance on your phone. If you need cash, think of that ahead of time and find a partner ATM or branch.
Ditch the Designer Checks
While it may be nice to have your favorite cartoon character or team on your checks, it is completely a waste of money. Checks are not something you keep, they get cashed. The electric company, your mortgage company, or your landlord could care less about what your check looks like. If you are like me, you write one or two checks a month so the free checks many banks give are good enough.
Don’t Pay Credit Card Interest
I am a strong believer in that you should have no credit cards or just one if you absolutely NEED one. Then if you have one, pay it off every month. Why pay interest on something? If you bought a dress on sale, but then got 8-20 percent interest added because you let your balance carry over, is it still such a great deal?
Contact Your Bank
Sometimes the inevitable happens and you get a bank fee, either an overdraft fee or some other charge. A couple weeks ago I encountered a “Bad Address” fee. My local postal worker can’t seem to figure out how to put a package and regular mail in my mailbox so a lot of my mail gets returned. I called my bank and they took care of the matter.
I have also called for the occasional overdraft fee, sometimes they waive it sometimes they don’t but it always worth the try. Just remember to be kind, it is not usually their fault but yours that you encountered a fee. According to Time, 44% of people who have tried to get forgiveness on bank fees have had success.
So, what do you spend money on at the bank that you shouldn’t?