Bank fees continue to rise. That’s now 15 years in a row they’ve increased. Overdraft fees and charges for out-of- ATM usage have hit all-time highs.
Research by Bankrate.com has found that average overdraft charge has risen to a record $32.20, up 3% in 2013, and the average cost of using another banks ATM now stands at $4.13, a 2% increase this year.
If you’re fed up of paying these ever-growing fees, there may something you can do about it to save a few precious dollars:
- Find a free interest-bearing checking account
Not as easy as it sounds, with just 3% of these accounts free to all customers. That said, the vast majority of institutions will waive the fee when you keep an average balance of $5,802.
- Go paperless
Most banks will charge you when they send a statement to you in the post. Could you live without the piece of paper, and manage your banking affairs online? If the answer’s yes, then it’s an easy way to save a couple of bucks a month.
- Waive your overdraft fee
If you’ve always been the sort never to go into your overdraft, you may be able to get the fee waived should the unexpected happen. Remind them that up to now, you’ve been the model customer, and ask them if they’ll reward your responsibility and loyalty by letting you off this time.
- Use a foreign exchange company rather than a bank for foreign exchange
When you’re moving your money overseas, your bank will usually charge you a fee for the privilege, as well as offering inferior interest rates compared to a foreign exchange company, like, erm, us actually! Find out more.
- Six questions to ask yourself
1) Is face-to-face banking important to you? If not, and you’re being charged for it, opt out and save money.
2) Do you write a lot of checks? If you do, make sure you’re on a free checking account which allows for unlimited checking.
3) How often do you need to withdraw money from an ATM? A lot? Then pick a bank with a ATM near you, to avoid those hefty charges we mentioned at the top.
4) Do you really need to pay for overdraft protection, if you’re never going into it?
5) If you make a lot of bank transfers, can you find an account that won’t charge for that service?
6) Will another bank do your coin-counting for free?
There are so many things a bank will charge for – probably more than you think. Think carefully about how you go about your banking, what you need, what you don’t, and start saving money.
Let’s beat those bank charges.