Banking fees can quickly become budget-busters. At times, these are small monthly costs or convenience charges that slowly chip away at your balance. In others, they are massive financial penalties for missteps. Over time, these fees add up. But, luckily, they don’t have to. Most can be avoided with very little effort. If you want to save money on banking fees, here’s how.
Find Free Checking
In nearly all cases, there’s no decent reason to pay for a checking account. There are so many free options available, including some that earn interest or come with rewards. As a result, giving the bank money for the privilege of holding onto you cash just isn’t necessary.
Use Friendly ATMs To Save Money On Banking Fees
ATM fees are something else that can often be avoided. Usually, you can get the location of friendly ATMs through your bank’s website or mobile app. When you head to those, you won’t pay a fee to access your cash.
The only exception to this rule is banks or credit unions that refund these fees. In those cases, as long as the institution will give you back the full amount, then seeking out a different ATM might not be necessary.
Get Cash Back at Registers
Another option for getting cash without having to deal with fees is to use the cashback option when you shop with your debit card. Many major retailers will allow you to process a higher amount on your card so that you can get change. In some cases, you can access $60, $80, or $100 or more that way, all without having to pay a fee.
Ditch Traditional Overdraft
In many cases, an overdraft fee is $25 or more. Every time a transaction comes through that puts you deeper in the red, you’ll get hit with that fee. For example, if your balance was at $0 and then three transactions would come through, you’d pay that $25+ fee three times, costing you $75 or more.
If you want to avoid overdraft fees, turn off overdraft protection. That way, your bank will decline a transaction instead of letting it go through and slapping you with a fee.
Avoid Returned-Check Fee
Even if you don’t have overdraft protection turned on, that doesn’t mean a transaction that would put your balance below zero won’t come with a cost. If you write a bad check, you could get hit with a returned-check fee, which is usually around $35. You could get hit with a fee by the retailer or business, too, making it a double whammy.
Usually, the best way to keep this from happening is to use options other than checks. However, if you simply must, consider keeping a spreadsheet running that reminds you about your outstanding checks. That way, you can account for that outgoing money (until it clears) when you look at your bank balance.
Don’t Make Too Many Savings Withdrawals
If you have a savings account, you can get hit with a fee if you make too many withdrawals during a specified period. Typically, you can only make six withdrawals or outbound transfers a month, based on the rules in Federal Reserve Board Regulation D. If you go above that, you may have to pay a few. If it happens repeatedly, the bank may even shut down your savings account or convert it into a checking account.
Sign Up for Low Balance Alerts
Since many bank fees are based on having a low balance, signing up for alerts can help you avoid those costs. Once in place, you’ll get a notification, email, or text whenever your balance falls below a certain line. That gives you the ability to adjust your spending going forward, decreasing the odds you’ll end up in fee territory.
Do you have any other tips that can help people save on banking fees? Share them in the comments below.
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