With people looking to find savings any possible way, it’s important to be aware of where your money is being spent. While we are aware of all our big expenses, sometimes the little ones are the ones we don’t even know exist and that also add up over time. One area you may be losing more money than you would think is with your bank account. That’s right, you bank account typically costs you money and there can be a number of different fees and charges each month that you aren’t even aware of.
Here we’ll take a look at the different areas your bank account costs you, in particular a checking account, allowing you to be better informed and decide if you need to look into a new bank.
Account Fees Are on the Rise
It seems as though account fees have slowly but steadily been on the rise over the past few years. Because they are relatively small increases at a time, they tend to really creep up on you without you even noticing. With interest rates dropping and regulations decreasing, banks have gotten creative in terms of making a profit and they are instead increasing their fees that are charged to you, the customer.
Just take a look at a survey from Bankrate that shows the cost to use an out-of-network ATM has gone up by 2.6% in 2017. This isn’t anything new. That and the fact the overdraft fee has also risen for customers, and suddenly you start to get a sense of a trend. While some banks may offer a zero-fee bank plan, the majority of these require you to keep a rather high minimum balance at all time. Without that balance you’ll be paying the fees just like everyone else.
A good tip is to take a look at your bank account statement for the last couple of months and add up all the fees. Between the out-of-network ATM usage, debit purchases, bank account fees and overdraft, you may find yourself paying upwards of $30 a month. It can be a real eye-opener.
How to Stop the Cycle
So now that you know you’re spending a small fortune each month in bank fees and charges, what can you do to stop the cycle? The good news is that there are tips that will help you dodge those fees and keep more of your money in your account.
The first tip is to look for a zero-fee bank account. Now chances are you will need to keep a minimum account balance, so obviously you want to find the one with the lowest balance required. Another tip is to make an appointment to go in and speak to bank staff. You’d be amazed at how willing they are to lower bank fees for loyal customers.
Of course, you also want to be sure you’re using ATMs that belong to your bank. While it still may not be free, it will be much lower fee than using another bank’s ATM. And while on the topic of ATMs, make sure you take enough money out that you don’t have to keep coming back to the machine. Less visits mean less fees.
You work hard for your money, so you want to be sure you do all you can to keep it in your pockets where it belongs.