It seems like banks are always trying to find a way to “stick it to the man.” Check out the handy information below for tips to avoid bank fees and learn to protect more of your hard-earned cash.
Do you pay unnecessary fees?
- Maintenance: Most banks charge a monthly fee if you don’t maintain a minimum balance.
- Online billy pay: A few banks are making customers pony up to pay bills online.
- Mobile deposits: While it’s cool to snap a photo of your check and text it to your bank, the convenience might cost you.
- Card replacement: If your card is lost or stolen, you might have to pay for a new one.
Want to avoid future fees?
- Scan your statement: Check every month for any new fees.
- Speak to a banker: You may be able to keep a minimum balance in your account, open a savings account or use direct deposit to avoid fees.
- Change your habits: Visit your bank’s ATMs instead of going out of network; move money from savings to checking to cover big checks and avoid overdraft.
- Open every envelope: Banks must warn you if they impose new fees, so open all mail, even if it looks like junk.
Have you shopped for a better bank?
- Credit unions and community banks: They tend to charge fewer fees and have lower minimums than large banks. Check nerdwallet.com to compare credit unions near you.
- Online banks: Many e-banks offer free checking but often lack free ATMs. However, ING and Ally buck the trend, with access to thousands of free machines. Ally even allows you to scan your check deposits for free so you don’t have to send them via snail mail and wait for them to post.
Ready for the big move?
- Time it right: Many banks now charge a fee to close your account if you haven’t had it for long—under six months, for example. Check out your bank’s policy.
- Open the new account first: Start with a small deposit and be sure you transfer all automatic payments to the new account before closing the old one.
Source: All You Magazine
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