Nobody likes paying fees. Whether you’re late on a credit card payment or are hit with a maintenance fee on a ticket purchase, it’s just another unexpected chunk out of your monthly earnings. It may seem like there’s a fee attached to everything, including your bank accounts!
Thankfully, even though there might be a long list of potential bank fees, there are often easy ways to avoid them. Usually it just takes a little knowledge and a few quick steps to avoid checking fees, savings fees, or any other fees associated with your accounts. Follow our tips and hopefully this month you won’t be shelling out more than you have to.
4 Tips to Avoid Bank Fees
1. DON’T OPEN AN ACCOUNT THAT’S WRONG FOR YOU
One of the easiest ways to avoid bank fees comes even before you open an account. It can be tempting to open a bank account because of a great offer, or because you see the potential for higher savings yields. But if you aren’t able to maintain the account requirements, you may end up paying instead of earning.
For example, a money market account might offer a higher savings rate than a traditional savings account, but could require a monthly fee if you don’t meet an average daily balance requirement. If you’re not able to meet that requirement, the fee could end up costing you more than you would earn in extra interest. Or maybe investing in a Certificate of Deposit looks like an appealing option, but you don’t have enough money left over for a full emergency fund. If an unexpected expense comes up and you have to withdraw from your CD early, you could face a steep penalty.
A pragmatic consideration before opening an account that might easily go overlooked is ensuring that the bank you’re choosing has branches and ATMs available near you, including both where you work and where you live. While a bank may offer a lot of great perks, if you’re not able to easily get to one of their locations you could be dealing with more than just inconvenience. Many banks charge a fee if you use an ATM from a different bank, and you may even be subject to an additional fee by the bank that owns the ATM. While it may only be a couple of dollars, the amount will add up over time. When researching a bank make sure to check out a map of their branch and ATM locations, like this locator from Santander Bank.
2. READ UP ON THE BANK FEES FOR YOUR ACCOUNT
Whether you have had the account for years or you just signed up, take a few minutes to research the fees associated with your account. You may be able to find a list of bank fees for your account online, but if not visit your local branch to request a fee schedule.
Look over the list of bank fees associated with your account and familiarize yourself with each one. Even if it might seem like a fee you would never have to pay, it’s better to know what you could be facing rather than someday experiencing a surprise charge.
Once you’ve read up on your account, make a list of the fees for your account that can be avoided so you can take action.
3. TAKE ONE-TIME STEPS NOW
Some of the bank fees you can avoid can be taken care of in one step, so why wait? You don’t want to lose money just because you forgot! Take a look at your fee schedule and see what can be accomplished right now.
Many banks charge a fee if you receive your bank statements in paper format, but do not charge a fee for receiving statements electronically. Signing up to receive electronic, or paperless, statements may be a sensible step for avoiding this fee.
With the Simply Right Checking account, you can avoid the Monthly Fee by making one deposit, transfer, payment or withdrawal each month (otherwise $10). While it’s easy to avoid this checking fee, it may sound like you have to take action each month. But if you direct deposit a monthly paycheck or take a moment to set up a monthly recurring automatic transfer from checking to savings, you can easily meet this requirement.
4. SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
You probably won’t be able to avoid every bank fee in one step. You can, however, look for ways to set yourself up for success. Nowadays, online and mobile banking tools can easily help you meet your account requirements. If you need to maintain a certain balance in your account to avoid a fee, set up alerts to let you know if you’ve dropped below a certain amount. Or set a low balance alert for your checking account to help you avoid overdrafts. Mobile and online banking tools are usually customizable, so take full advantage of what they offer to help you avoid bank fees. If you don’t have a mobile banking app yet, check out the Santander Mobile App.
It’s your money. Don’t you want to control how you spend or save it?