Bank accounts can be a source for lost money. With banks charging more fees to regain the stature they held prior to the recession, many of their customers feel the sting of these increases in their wallets. Being mindful of your bank accounts and of the fees banks charge can keep you ahead of the game and help you save money. Use these tips to avoid incurring these fees and you can keep an extra dollar or two in your pocket.
Account Maintenance Fees
Some banks charge you if your account balance falls below a certain amount. To avoid this fee, usually referred to as an account maintenance fee, simply make sure your balance does not breach this limit. If you do, your bank may hit your account immediately. Depending on how low your balance was prior to getting dinged, you may be in for more than your bargain for if you incur this charge.
Overdraft/Insufficient Funds Fees
There is no worse action you can do to your account than to overdraft it. Once this happens, the bank will hit you with overdraft fees. These fees can drain your account, especially if it’s caused by a bounced check. Then, not only are you responsible for the funds owed to the bank, but also to the receiver of the check. Ask your bank about overdraft protection. It may cost a few dollars a month to maintain overdraft protection on your account, but it’s worth paying to avoid overdraft fees that will be much higher.
You can also use a buffer to avoid incurring overdraft fees. This is simply maintaining your own minimum balance in the bank account. Keeping a watchful eye on your account, if you come close to going under your personal minimum balance, you simply stop using the account. This will take discipline, but will keep you from spending yourself into the negative.
Request Fee Waivers
Being a loyal customer indeed has its perks. So does being a new customer as well. Each can approach their bank about fees charged and simply request they be removed. By asking politely and not having a history of negative transactions on your account, you’re more likely to get the benefit of the doubt from bank employees. Some banks even have it as policy that they will remove certain negative fees, like overdraft fees, if it occurs only once within a certain time frame. This isn’t automatic, so make sure you ask for it.
Regularly Review Bank Statements
When you get your bank statement in the mail, take the time to review the information on it. Look for any fees that appear odd or non-recurring. If you don’t understand why you were charged, make sure you ask questions. Find out why you were charged and if there is any way you can avoid being charged in the future. If they fee is erroneous, politely ask that it be removed.
Always be aware of your bank accounts and your bank’s policies. Read carefully any notifications you receive from your bank informing you about changes in policy or fee structure. If you have opened a new account, carefully read through the information and ask questions about anything you do not understand. Being watchful and being informed is the best way to save money on bank fees. Don’t let them catch you off guard. Try to stay one step ahead at all times.