At one point or another, everyone has come to a point where they were hit with an excessive bank fee such as ATM surcharges or the monthly maintenance fee. Most of us can’t help but complain that overdraft fees reign over those excessive bank charges.
If you’re not cautious, the fees add up fast and they are expensive to keep up with. Instead of having your money wasted away in these fees, take the necessary measures to avoid them all together. Below are some great tips to know about the ways you can avoid those excessive bank charges!
Starting off with the easier way to avoid the bank fees, is to take care of that monthly maintenance fee. This goes hand in hand with choosing a proper bank account that you can manage and that has low or no maintenance fees. But if you don’t want to go through the hassle of changing your current account entirely, find out if you are able to waive it.
Free banking may be more easily attainable than you think. A lot of fee waivers are often straightforward so as long as you meet the necessary requirements (usually a minimum balance or a form a direct deposit) then you won’t be charge any maintenance fees.
While we are on the topic of a direct deposit, this is also another easy way to avoid those excessive fees. A direct deposit is a paycheck, pension, Social Security, or any other form of income is automatically deposited into your checking account.
This is another great way to consider avoiding those fees as you also enjoy the convenience of receiving your funds faster without any unnecessary ATM or money transfer fees. Although not all of us have the option to a direct deposit, you can make a “mock direct deposit” with a third party money transferring app such as PayPal.
Just have those funds transferred to your checking account and your bank may considered them as a direct deposit. However, you have to consider the amount transferred and if your bank requires a specific amount in those direct deposits.
One of the easiest avoidable fees are ATM surcharges. Let’s face it, many of us hate the idea of having to pay a fee just to withdraw our own funds from an ATM. Honestly, the only way to avoid them is to use ATMs that are affiliated or owned by your bank.
Those with accounts from large national banks may be at a disadvantage as they are often more strict about using their own ATMs for deposits and withdrawals but there are also more of there affiliated ATMs available. Using your bank locator online or on a mobile app will help you find a plethora of free ATMs. You won’t have to pay any foreign ATM fees or any ATM service charges.
Online Banking and eStatements
Try to opt for online banking and eStatements when opening a new bank account. Banks often charges a small fee for customers to receive paper statements. You have access to both the online and paper statement anyway so why not eliminate that unnecessary paper statement fee.
Sure, it might only be a dollar or two, but those fees add up quickly without us realizing it. Save those few extra bucks and opt for online statements. And if you ever need a physical copy, you can print it yourself at home.
Adding Multiple Accounts and Services
Linking your accounts may help in waiving any other fees. For example, a lot of bank maintenance fee waivers require a combine minimum balance on your accounts.
If you are able to link multiple accounts, your balances in each account is considered as one total balance and if it reaches a certain threshold, you may be able to avoid that inconvenient monthly maintenance fee.
If you are able to, try to opt for a student checking account. Many banks offer students a free checking account if they are around the a certain age range and show proof that they are enrolled in an academic institution.
The age limits vary depending on the bank, but are usually cut off around the ages of 23 and 24 and the minimum age is usually around 17. Students will be able to enjoy no monthly maintenance fees but don’t forget to ask your bank about any other service fees. Just remember that the account is no longer a student checking account if you go over the age cut off.
Often times, the account will turn into a regular checking account. Chase is currently having a $50 Student Checking Promotion for those qualified individuals who are looking to open an account. Since we are trying to find ways to avoid wasting money, why not earn some with Chase!
Excessive transactions are usually defines are excess withdrawals or transfers on the account. Many accounts limit how many transfers and withdrawals you can initiate and if you go over that set limit a fee will be assessed.
Banks often charge for excessive activity on savings account, so if you plan to spend money on those accounts, plan ahead and transfer those funds in larger amounts. Savings accounts are the meant for money to be remained on deposit for longer periods of time. If you need to make any type of transaction, use your checking account.
Money Transfer Fees
A fee is often assessed if you need to send or receive money through your bank. Although it is fast and easy to send money through a wire transfer, the fee is often on the higher end ranging from $20-$35.
Find other ways to send money such as an Automated Clearing House (ACH) Transfer or through third party apps such as Venmo, PayPal, or ChasePay, etc. There are many other options to avoid the bank’s money transfer fee. The downside is that it may not be as immediate as a wire transfer as it may take a few days to actually go through. But in the end, it may be worth if you want to save the extra $20.
Early Termination Fees
Banks often charge an account closing fee of around $25 or so if your close an account within a certain time frame. Most accounts require a minimum 6 to 9 months of keeping the account open unless you are lucky enough to find one that does not have an early termination fee.
As long as you are committed to keeping the account that you have opened, you shouldn’t worry about any early termination fees.
Insufficient Funds and Overdraft Fees
Overdraft fees are notorious for the fact that the basically eat up our bank account funds when your balance is low. When discussing about bank fees, we are really thinking about those expensive overdraft fees. You can opt out of overdraft fees, but there is a small setback of this policy.
Overdraft protection is what banks usually offer, but that only protects you from using your debit card too much. If you have set up any automatic payments, then the overdraft protection isn’t much help. Overdraft protection works in the way that if you do not have the funds to pay for something, the bank will “loan” you the amount you need.
But in return, you will have to pay a fee that often range around $35. So if you have the option to, try to opt out of Overdraft Protection. That way if you purchase something that costs more than what you have in the account, the transaction will be denied but you won’t have to face any expensive fees. Keep in mind that these is only effective for debit card transactions, so if you have set up any automatic payments, the money will be pulled from the account regardless of the amount and a fee will be applicable if the account is negative.
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These are just some of the ways that you can avoid those excessive bank charges. Rather than it being tips, think of it as a word of caution. There is a way to avoid those fees, you just need to find the necessary requirements to do so. Take into consideration of the type of bank account are opening and remember that free checking accounts do exist.
Being wise with your finances may help you save better and grow your earnings, so don’t hesitate to find out about all of your bank’s options in opening and managing your account. Check out our other banking reviews such as finding the Best Ways to Manage Your Checking Account, information about ACH vs Wire Transfers, or our extensive list on the Best Bank Bonuses available!
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