Avoid Bank Fees - NBC4 Washington

Avoid Bank Fees



    Do you know which fees your bank is charging you? (Published Monday, Feb. 4, 2013)

    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.)