For some families, banking fees can take up about 10% of the total income being earned every month. That’s hundreds of dollars being spent on overdraft fees, maintenance fees, card use fees, and other fees being charged to people for using their checking accounts. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid paying these fees, and save your family a lot of money.
Meet the requirements for free checking
Account maintenance fees are charged by many banks in order to cover the costs associated with providing checking account services. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid these fees by meeting the requirements to get free checking. Usually, a bank will require their customers to have direct deposit, and/or make a minimum number of transactions every month in order to qualify.
Use in-network ATMs
ATM fees can be charged by the bank that owns the ATM and your own bank. Some banks offer a limited number of free ATM trips, however as long as the ATM is owned by that bank. If you can be careful about using ATMs that are only owned by the bank you have your account with, you could save some money.
If you happen to have a bank that charges a fee every time you withdraw cash, however, you will need to stop using those machines in order to not have to pay any fees. Check your account balances online, and withdraw cash when making everyday purchases such as groceries at the cash register. Even if you forget, buying a candy bar from a store and getting cash back will often cost less than using the ATM on site.
Consider dropping your debit card
Some banks have started to charge customers fees for simply carrying a debit card linked to their checking account. If yours does this, consider getting rid of your debit card. By switching to a credit card, you could earn rewards and avoid paying fees. Of course, only consider this if you’re good at tracking what you spend, in order to avoid paying interest on the credit card.
Keep a log of your purchases
Overdraft fees can cost a consumer an average of $55 per bounced check. If you see your account hit with overdraft fees fairly often, keep a register of everything you spend. Record everything, including every time you swipe your debit card.
Get overdraft protection
If you still find yourself forgetting to enter items into your registry, use cash for an entire month. Then, put the money you would have spent on overdraft fees into a savings account with overdraft protection. Even if your bank charges for overdraft protection you will still save money over having to pay for every check you bounce.