Liz Crenshaw, Patti Petitte & Katie Roberts
Do you know which fees your bank is charging you?
Here are tips from the American Bankers Association about how to avoid bank fees:
• Utilize free checking and savings accounts. Many banks still offer them. (Shop around to find one.)
• Utilize direct deposit. Many checking accounts are free when you have at least one direct deposit per month, such as your paycheck or benefits check.
• Keep a minimum balance. Keep at least the minimum balance required in your account. This helps to avoid monthly fees and accidental overdrafts.
• Use your bank’s ATM machines. Avoid fees by using ATMs owned by or affiliated with your bank.
• Reduce the use of foreign ATMs. If you must use an ATM not affiliated with your bank, take out larger withdrawals to avoid having to go back multiple times.
• Don’t spend more money than you have. Keep track of transactions and account balances to avoid bounced check fees.
• Opt for electronic statements and notices. It not only reduces the bank’s costs (and yours), it’s good for the environment.
• Utilize online or mobile banking as often as possible. Electronic transactions are quick, safe and convenient. They cost less, too.
• Check your account frequently. Online and mobile banking makes it easy to check your balance frequently (and catch potential unauthorized transactions, too).
• Avoid overdrafts:
o Sign Up for Email or Text Alerts. Ask for an automatic alert when your balance falls below a certain level.
o Opt-out of overdraft coverage for debit cards if you don’t want to incur a fee for making a purchase when you don’t have enough money in your account. (Your transaction will be declined, though.)
o Link your checking account to another account such as a savings account. If you run out of money in your checking account, funds will be automatically transferred to cover a payment. (Fees, if charged, are considerably less than an overdraft fee.)