The banking industry makes billions of pounds each year in bank fees alone. This includes fees for late payments, overdrafts, returned checks, ATM transactions, loan origination and more. You can end up hemorrhaging money to your bank if you aren’t careful with your money.
The first step toward avoiding a lot of these fees is to be aware of them. Some banks are going to charge you just for having a checking account, while some major bank offer a basic account with no monthly fees. If you’re not interested in the various benefits offered by packaged accounts, shop around to find a simple, free to use bank account.
You also want to know exactly what fees your bank charges, even for things you might not think will even happen to you. Know when these fees are going to be applied and how much they will cost you. Once you know what the bank charges you for, you can be far more prepared to avoid those charges.
Next, you want to try to pay on time as much as possible. Don’t allow your loan payments to be late. If they are going to be late, notify your bank ahead of time and see if they can work something out with you. If you have been a customer with them for a long time, they may be understanding of your plight and extend you some extra leeway.
You also want to watch your checking account carefully. If there is an option to do so, check your account online. This will give you up-to-the-moment information as to where your account is standing and what kind of funds you have available. If you are forgetful of how much you have in your account at any time and you have been prone to go into overdraft in the past, then make sure you check your account online (via smartphone or tablet or whatever you have to access it) before you make a transaction. You might be surprised at how much money you can save each year this way.
You should also be wary of how you use the ATM. Not only might it cost you to use an ATM not owned by your bank, but it can cost you to take out multiple withdrawals in a short period of time or to take out more than a certain amount at once. Again, it will save you money to know what your bank’s policy is regarding when it charges fees.
You might be racking up small fees each time you use the ATM and not even realize it. You can avoid all that by understanding the policy your bank has for ATM use. Fortunately these type of ATM’s seem to be on the wane, but try to keep an eye out for any potential charges.
If you travel frequently or you are planning to travel soon, you should also be aware of what fees your bank may charge overseas. You first want to be sure your bank will allow you to use your account while you travel, but often just notifying them that you will be out of the country allows them to cut your transaction fees considerably. It can also save you a lot of time trying to explain to your bank why your account is being used outside of the country.
There is a lot of money to be lost by not being careful with your money, but if you take the time to know your bank’s policy and to stay on top of your account balance, you can bank with a minimum of fees.
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