Last week we talked about the 7 Bank Fees Eating your Checking Account. We also reviewed the startling stat that the top 3 U.S. banks made $1 billion in just overdraft fees during 2014! That post stirred great discussion about the hatred of banks and how to avoid bank fees – without keeping your money under your mattress. In this post, we will take a deeper dive into avoiding bank fees.
Check your Statement for Bank Fees
Find your most recent bank statements. If you don’t have a physical copy of your bank statement, access your account online and check your transaction history for the last few months.
- Do you notice any bank fees?
- If so, what are the fees?
Give your bank a call to see if they will (1) waive the fees that have previously hit your account and (2) ask if they have an account that will avoid bank fees altogether.
Find a Bank that Works For You
If your existing bank is not able to work with you on refunding fees, it’s time to consider choosing a new bank! I love love love my checking account with PNC. First of all, due to my automatic deposit, I do not incur any monthly maintenance fees. In addition, I am allowed free use of 4 non-PNC bank ATMs throughout the month. Although I rarely go to the ATM, this gives me the flexibility and freedom to go to the ATM that is more convenient for me.
Figure out what is most important to you as no bank is perfect.
- Do you prefer to have ATM fees refunded?
- Do you need an account without monthly maintenance fees?
- Do you need free checks?
- Do you prefer for the bank to give you to before charging an overdraft fee?
Change Habits that May Cause Fees
At the end of the day, certain bank fees (overdraft, ATM) relate to financial responsibility.
- What is causing you to overdraft? Are you keeping track of all your financial responsibilities prior to swiping your card?
- Why do you visit ATM’s where a fee is imposed? Do you need to plan better to visit your banks ATM? Do you need to keep some money in a more conveniently located bank?
- Did the bank send you a letter that their account minimum requirements have changed which has led to monthly maintenance fees?
Really think about what habits you can change. Planning in advance can help you avoid overdraft and ATM fees.
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