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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Fixing Bank Mistakes

Cash; how many times have you cashed a check in a hurry, then walked away without counting the money? Maybe you think the teller is always right. Maybe you are intimidated by the line of grumpy people behind you. But if you count the money at the bank door and find that you are $20 short, you might be stuck. Tellers are not allowed to hand over extra money on a customer’s say so. After all, you could have slipped the missing $20 into your pocket before you went back to the teller’s window.

Always count your money before leaving the window. If you discover an error later, give your name, address, and account number to the manager. If the teller winds up the day with the right amount extra cash, you will be reimbursed.

Deposits; Teller sometimes err when crediting deposits, for example, entering $100 when you actually put in $1,000 into your Atlanta title loan account.

Double check every transaction for accuracy before leaving the window. What if the teller credits $1,000 to your account when you gave him or her only $100? Don’t spend the money. The mistake will be found and in banking, there’s no finders keeper.

Automated Teller machines

ATMs goof, just as people do. They short change the occasional customer, giving you $70 when you asked for $100. Sometimes they accept cash and checks without crediting them to your account.

Never deposit cash in an ATM. It is impossible to prove how much you put into the envelope, so losses are sometimes hard to recover. Checks are easier to find or replace.

Report mistakes right away. Some banks install telephones next to their ATMs for that purpose, although they may be answered by bank personnel only during banking hours. When you call, leave your name, address, account number, the amount of the loss, and the location of the ATM; then put the same information into a letter. You will have to wait until the accounts are balanced, but if the machine is over by the sum you reported, you will get your money. At the bank’s own ATM machines, the error might be fixed at the end of the day. But it will take an extra day or two (and sometimes weeks) if you used an ATM at another bank.

Deposit Slips; It always astonishes me to see the trash baskets near ATMs overflowing with deposits slips with Atlanta title loan.

Federal Deposit Insurance

Do not waste your time searching through sub-clauses, thinking to find a loophole in the coverage. The government will meet every obligation of the deposit insurance fund and title loans in Atlanta. The S&L bailout of the 1980s is proof of that.

Federally insured money is entirely safe up to $100,000 and more, depending on how the accounts are held. Safe, in a failing bank.  Safe, in a bank that pays cockeyed interest rates. Safe, even with a crock or incompetent at the institution’s helm. So do not worry, be happy, and collect the highest interest rates that you can find. You get $100,000 worth of deposit insurance for each of the following accounts, or groups of accounts, held in the same financial institution:

All the accounts in your name alone, added together, including any accounts in the name of a business you own as a sole proprietor.

Your share of all retirement plan whose investments you control including Individual Retirement Accounts, Simplified Employee Pensions, and Keoghs. If you have multiple plans in the bank, the shares are lumped together as if they were a single account.

Your share of the retirement fund that you company managers say, a traditional pension plan or a company run 401(k). Each person’s interest in the fund is normally insured for up to $100,000, assuming that the banks meet certain capital requirements for safety and soundness. If it does not, the FDIC insures the fund as a whole for $100,000. That gives each participant much less protection, but so far, this harsh provision of the law has not been applied.

Each “in trust for” account or “payable on death” account held for a member of your immediate family child, spouse, and grandchild. There can be multiple owners and multiple beneficiaries, each with his or her own FDIC coverage. For example, if you and your spouse open an account in trust for your three children, you are insured for up to $600,000: $100,000 for each beneficiary of each account owner.

Living trusts and family trusts usually aren’t insured separately. Neither is in trust for or payable on death accounts if the beneficiary is someone other than your child, spouse or grandchild. Instead, such accounts are added to those held in your sole name.

Each account owned by a partnership, corporation, or unincorporated association, such as a union, homeowners association, fraternal organization or title loans in Atlanta.

For Fast, Fast Relief

When you have to get money to someone in a hurry, a check might serve if it is delivered fast. Use a commercial overnight delivery service or the post office’s Express Mail. If the recipient has nowhere to cash the check, use one of the following quick delivery systems:

An ATM card; if the recipient has a card you can put money into his or her U.S. bank account. It can be withdrawn at a cash machine abroad and you will get the wholesale rate on your currency exchange.

Postal money orders sent by Express Mail; but you can count on rapid delivery only within the United States. International money orders are governed by country to country agreements and may take 4 to 6 weeks to arrive.

Western Union; some agents, and the 800 service, are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Cash can be transferred within the Unite State, Puerto Rico, and to more than 100 foreign countries in 15 minutes or less. Funds wired elsewhere usually take at least 2 business days because delivery goes through local banks. The recipient can pick up the money at any Western Union agency. For the address of the closest one, ask the local agent or the 800 operator.

The State Department; it’s the agency of choice if your son was robbed in Bangladesh. In an emergency, it will send cash within 24 hours to any American embassy or consulate for a fee of $15. All you have to do is get the money to the State Department, using Western Union, bank wire, overnight mail, or regular mail.

Your bank, for big money transfers within the United States. It can wire money to another bank for pickup the same day or one day later. But mistrust banks for international transfers. Unless the foreign bank pays a lot of attention, a transfer that ought to take a day can take a month.

Ask what identification the recipient will need in order to pick up the money. Usually, two proofs are required, like a passport and driver’s license with a picture attached. Sometimes he or she will also need a code word or authorization number that you furnish.

If you run short of cash or travelers checks, or your wallet is stolen, there are several ways to rescue yourself, get some at home to send you money, using one of the techniques just described.

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How Fast Will Your Checks Clear?

There you stand, like a kid with his nose pressed against a pet store window. Your money is romping behind the glass and you cannot get at it. Any checks you deposit may be held by your bank for a specified number of days.

If you write a check against deposited funds too soon, it will probably bounce. You will pay $15 to $20 for the error, with some banks charging as much as $30. To bounce proof your checks, sign up for overdraft checking. Alternatively, move your account to a friendly bank that will honor checks written against uncollected funds although you will probably be charged for the service. A really friendly bank will waive the fee.

Under federal law, banking institutions normally must give you access to at least $100 of your deposit on the next business day, and must clear the rest of your deposit on a specified schedule (with some quirky conditions here and there). All the following limits apply to checks deposited to your account before the bank’s cutoff hour generally, noon for ATM deposits and 2 pm for deposits made in person. Add one business day for checks you deposit after the cutoff. The general schedule:

One business day for federal, state, and local government checks, electronic payments (like direct deposit of a paycheck or Social Security check), postal money order, cash, personal check drawn on the same bank, cashier’s check, and certified checks. To get one day access, certain checks have to be deposited in person or sometimes on special deposit slips. Ask about this if your timing is critical.

Two business days for local checks.

Five business days for out of town checks.

On checks deposited on a business day (not Saturday) in the bank’s own ATM: one business day for US Treasury checks; 2 business days for cash, local checks, cashier’s checks, and state and local government checks, and 5 business days for out of town checks.

On checks deposited in an ATM not owned or operated by your bank: 5 business days.

On checks you mail to the bank: one business day after receipt by the bank for US Treasury checks; 2 days for cashier’s checks, postal money orders, and local checks including the checks of your own state and local governments; 5 days for out of town checks, at many institutions, most of these rules are irrelevant.

Joint Property For Unmarried

It passes automatically to the other without a will and without probate. This is a strong case only for committed couples, gay couples, for example, whose families disapprove of the relationship and might challenge a will. A carefully drawn will usually can’t be broken, however, except by a surviving spouse who was not left the share of the property required by state law.

It is a sign of a good faith.

It is convenient. A mother and daughter living together may want a joint account for household bills.

The strong case against

If you want to take your property out of joint names and the other person refuses, you may have the devil’s own time getting it back. Only bank accounts are simple to reclaim. You just take the money out (unless the other person got there first). Either owner can empty a joint bank account. You would have to sue to get your money back.

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You might need both signatures to sell an investment or to cash a check for the proceeds of a sale. What if your ex-mate gets sore or leaves town?

Say you put your investments in joint names with your son, who manages them for you. His business goes broke. His half of your property could be attached to pay his debts. (He can manage your money just as well with a power of attorney or through a trust.)

The relationship might end but not joint ownership. For example, say that you and a boyfriend own a house together. Even if the boyfriend buys you out, you are still on the mortgage and are fully responsible for the debt. Only the lender can release you and the lender may refuse to do so. If your boyfriend (ex-boyfriend) quits paying the mortgage without your knowledge, the default will show up on your credit report. Ditto any liens that your ex’s creditors put on the house. If the bank comes after you for the mortgage payments, you will be supporting your ex-boyfriend’s real estate investment and getting nothing in return (unless a written agreement allows you to force the sale of the house to recover the money you put up).

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All joint property is taxed in the estate of the first owner to die, except for anything that the survivor can prove he or she paid for. These rules, incidentally, apply only to joint owners who are not married.

Lovers and Other Roommates

You are splitters. Each handles personal expenses and you work out a system for paying joint bills included car title pawn. A 50/50 split is fair only if your incomes are roughly equal. If one of you earns two-thirds of your combined income, that person should assume two-thirds of the rent and two third of the grocery bills. Otherwise, the one with the smaller paycheck is subsidizing the other. If there is going to be any subsidy at all, it should be from the richer to the poorer, not the other way around.

Long time lovers drift toward pooling some of their money. Still, you often live on the tips of your toes, almost ready to run. So for property that is hard to unwind, separate ownership is best. If you buy a piece of real estate together, do it as tenants in common. Write an agreement for sharing expenses: how you will divide the taxes, insurance, and mortgage payments. What happens if one person quits paying his or her share? If the relationship fails, how will you get your money out? Will you put the house on the market and divide the proceeds according to the percentage each person put up? Will one person buy the other out and if so, which? How will you determine the price? A lawyer should draw up these agreements (preferably two lawyers, one of each of you). You will never think of all the contingencies yourself. You should also have the contractual right to force the sale of the house if you are having to shoulder more of the cost than you bargained for.

I one of you dies, will his or her share be willed to the other or would a written contract be a safer choice (remember that minds, and wills, can change)?

Ever since the Lee Marvin case in 1979, which raised the possibility of suing for “palimony,” that issue has hung over live in relationships. If, say, the man works and the woman gives up her job to follow him, does she have a right to support if they fall out? Should one partner get some of the money that the other accumulated during their relationship? Denver attorney William Cantwell has been thinking about this problem for a while and offers you his “Wallet Card NonMarvinizing Agreement,” to be signed by both parties at car title pawn Atlanta.