Banks charge fees for a lot of different reasons. By being informed and aware, you can avoid a lot of these fees and extra costs. Knowing what types of fees that banks charge and why they do so can help you to save money. The following are some different ways to save money by avoiding bank fees:
-Use Free Checking-
Most banks offer free checking accounts. ‘Free checking’ accounts do not cost you any money to open up and use. If you do not already have a ‘free checking’ account, do some research and find a bank that offers this.
-Maintain Good Credit-
Paying your bills on time will help you to maintain a good credit score. Many banks check your credit when you apply to open up an account. Having a good credit report can help you to avoid extra costs. If a bank sees that you have a poor credit score, they will probably require you to pay some money upfront that otherwise could have been avoided with a good credit score.
-Request a list of possible fees-
Whenever you first open an account with a bank, request a list of their fees and costs. Even if you have ‘free checking’, most banks will charge a fee if you overdraft your account. Know exactly what type of fees your bank charges so that you can avoid it altogether. An example of some of these possible fees include, but are not limited to the following: Statement printout fee, account research fee, checkbook balancing fee, overdraft fee, overdrawn balance fee, checking account no activity fee, stop payment fee, savings account dormant fee, and telephone transactions fee.
-Keep Track of What You Spend-
Keeping a written record of what you spend daily, weekly, and monthly from your account is one of the very best ways to avoid ever having to pay fees. There are still many people who do not do this, and it ends up costing them in the long run. Not only should you keep up with what you spend, but you should double check your math with a calculator, as we are only humans and can make mathematical mistakes. As soon as you buy something with your debit card or write a check from your account, write it down! Keep all receipts, and deduct what you spend daily. Doing this may seem tedious, but it will save you money!
-If in doubt, DON’T SPEND-
If you are unsure about the amount of money that you currently have in your banking account, do not blindly spend any money from it! This principle seems simple, yet so many people end up paying overdraft banking fees because they do not know how much they have in their account. Sometimes people assume that certain checks have not cleared yet, or that their direct deposit paycheck has gone through already, when in fact it has not. Know exactly when your direct deposits are made, and know how much you actually have to spend. This also goes back to keeping a personal record of all your transactions. Another important thing to remember is not to rely on the balance you may see in your account online; there could possibly be transactions that have been deducted but have not had enough time to show up in your online account records.
-Look at your monthly bank statement, and compare it to your own records-
This is very important. Make sure that you have been doing your math correctly, and double check your records against your monthly banking statement. This will help you to realize any mistakes you might have made, and you can also make sure that the bank has not made any errors concerning your account. If you have made an error and did not realize it, you might be able to fix it before you end up paying an overdraft fee or have a returned check.
-Admit and ask!-
It is likely that you will probably make a mistake at some point in your life concerning your bank account. If this happens, and it was an honest mathematical mistake, do not be afraid to call your local bank and speak to the branch manager. Sometimes, especially if it is a first ‘offense’, a lot of managers will waive your overdraft fee. Don’t try to make this a habit, though. Some banks may not do this at all, but what do you have to lose, except your own money? The worst they could say is ‘no’. Then you are no worse off than you were to begin with. It never hurts to ask.
So as you can see, there are many ways to avoid banking fees. The best thing you can do is to be informed. Your hard-earned money should be just that-yours, instead of being wasted on fees that could have been avoided in the first place.