How to Get Rid of Bank Fees
Bank fees are annoying. There’s a chance you’ve complained about them (if you noticed them) but did you know that there might actually be something you can do about them?
Even though they’re usually very small, bank fees can certainly add up. If you’re spending even $10 a month on bank fees, that’s $120 a year just on banking. Almost everyone could use an extra $120 a year. That’s money that could be used in a number of different ways, from paying off debt to saving for retirement, so it’s a good idea to see what you can do to reduce or eliminate the bank fees you pay.
Here are some tips for saving money on bank fees.
Don’t Use Other Bank Machines
Most banks charge a fee when you use an ATM machine provided by anyone other than your bank. In many cases, the operator of the machine charges a fee as well. These costs can add up quickly. For instance, if you bank with Bank A and you use Bank B’s ATM, Bank A could charge you $1.50 and Bank B could charge the same. This means you’ll pay $3 to use that machine. If you do this five times a month, that’s $15. Plan ahead and avoiding using other banks’ machines to save money.
Maintain a Minimum Balance
Depending on your bank and your plan, your bank might not charge you fees on your chequing account if you maintain a certain minimum balance. This minimum could be anywhere from $1000 to $5000. Find out what the minimum balance is and try to keep at least that much in your account if possible.
Understand your Plan
Do you get a certain number of debit transactions each month for free before you have to pay? Does telephone banking result in an extra charge? How much are you paying for cheques? Can you send etransfers for free? You should know all of the answers to these questions and track your actions each month to make sure you pay as little as possible in extra bank fees.
Many people end up spending a lot of money on service fees because they use more than the free transactions that come with their account. For instance, if you’re given a certain number of free debit transactions each time, and you use more than this limit, you’ll be paying for each transaction. If you keep track and stay under your limit, you’ll save money.
In other cases, some banks charge for mailing out printed billings or for printing statements at an ATM. Find out if these charges apply to you and then see what you can do to reduce them.
Reconsider Overdraft Protection
Overdraft protection plans come with a monthly fee. In exchange for that fee, you won’t be hit with an overdraft charge or a non-sufficient funds fee if you write a cheque for more than you have in your account, for instance. This can be convenient – and it can save you the hassle and cost of overdraft charges (which are almost always higher than the monthly fee) – but the better strategy is to avoid going into overdraft at all. Avoiding overdraft costs you nothing but the time it takes to create and follow a budget.
Talk to your Bank
Are you annoyed at the fees your bank charges each month? Book a meeting with your local branch and talk to them about it. Ask them for details on other plans that better suit your lifestyle. For instance, if you use debit a lot, you’ll want to have a plan that allows for many debit transactions each month without charging a fee each time. However, if electronic transfers are more important to you, look for a plan that offers them for free. Look at your actions and your lifestyle and find a plan that matches you.
Also, know that, depending on your relationship with your bank, the bank may be willing to reduce or eliminate fees if you ask them to. It may not work, but there’s no harm in asking.
If your bank isn’t willing to accommodate you and give you a plan that makes sense for you financially, there may be another financial institution out there that is. Shop around and look at the different plans available at banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. You might discover that another provider is better able to suit your needs for less money each month.