Bank Fees Are Too High

Join the crowd. Everyone is screaming. But you may be able to cut your costs. When you opened your checking account, you might have looked only at how much interest you could earn. Now you know that the best account is the one that carries the lowest fees.

To find that account, start by analyzing your recent bank statements. Circle every fee to see how much you are spending each month (it could be as much as $300 a year) and list what all the fees were for.

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How low does your monthly balance go? How many incidental services do you use? How large are your savings deposits there? How much interest have you earned on your interest paying checking and does it exceed the fees you pay?

Armed with this information, sit down with a bank employee and say that you’d like to find ways of lowering your fees.

Maybe you have an interest paying checking account but your balance keeps falling below the required minimum. That might cost you $7 or more each time. You will save money over by choosing no interest checking with a lower minimum balance.

Maybe you write so few checks that you can manage on a no-frills account.

Maybe your fees will drop if you keep more deposits in the bank. If you have a CD somewhere else, move it to this bank when it matures.

Maybe your bank charges fees for using its ATMs. If so, you will save money by taking $90 once a week rather than $30 three times a week. Some types of accounts may offer free access to ATMs.

Maybe you are tapping your account through another bank’s ATM. That always costs more than using your own bank’s machines. You may even pay twice for the same transaction. One fee goes to the banks and the ATM network, the other fee goes to the owner of the ATM (which may be the bank or an outside company).

Maybe it costs less to pay by debit card or automatic electronic transfer than to pay be check. Automatic transfers work for any fixed monthly payments: mortgage, rent, auto loan or lease, condo maintenance, life insurance premiums, budgeted utility bills, and regular monthly investments.

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