Add these up and you could be paying your bank hundreds of dollars in fees each year, money that should stay in your pocket. Here are four little known ways you can reduce, even eliminate various banking fees.
1. Checking accounts. Good luck on getting your checking account fee waived at some banks. To do so requires jumping through some hoops such as agreeing to maintain a monthly balance of $500 or more. Or, opening a savings account, linking the two and sending money from checking to savings on at least a monthly basis. You should qualify for free checking at most banks if you are at least 55 years old, a college student or have a some other account at the bank such as a credit card, mortgage or a personal loan. How can you get the fee eliminated? Just ask.
2. Savings accounts. There was a time when banks encouraged consumers to save by allowing them to open savings accounts with initial deposits as low as $1. These days you’ll be hard-pressed to find banks allowing accounts to be opened for under $100, offering very little encouragement to youngsters to save money. Worse, many banks are now charging monthly maintenance fees for regular savings accounts unless you maintain a minimum balance of $300 to $500 or more each month. You may be able circumvent that cost by linking your checking and savings accounts and automatically sending a small, monthly deposit from checking to savings each month. As for your children’s savings accounts, your bank should waive this fee especially if you have other active accounts with them.
3. ATM fees. Automatic teller machines (ATMs) are a godsend to many people as you can bank on your time, well outside of normal and very limited banking hours. Some banks penalize customers for using their ATMs for more than a set number of visits per month. Another way that fees are charged is when you use an ATM at another bank. You should know that such fees are usually waived if you use an ATM in the same service network. Plus, STAR, NYCE and Pulse are the largest ATM service networks, allowing you to use other ATMs fee free. Network information is printed on the back of your card.
4. Cashier’s check. Ask for a cashier’s check and your bank may charge you a fee. That per check cost ranges from $7 to $10 per transaction at most banks. Cashier’s checks are ideal when you absolutely need to know that a check will clear. Most banks will waive the fee from time to time if you maintain one or more accounts with them. If that fails, ask to have the money given to you in cash instead — the head teller will sing a different tune if your cash request is large and you’ll be keeping your tell buy while other customers are kept waiting.
Move Your Accounts
Let’s face it: some banks just don’t want your business. Or, they may act as if you are not important to them. Your best effort to get fees reduced or eliminated just may not work. If so, it is time to find a smaller bank or a credit union that doesn’t charge you fees for everything. Shop around — there are plenty of financial institutions that want your business.
See Also — How to Avoid Money Sucking Bank Fees
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