Reduce Bank Fees: How to Pay Less in Bank Fees
- What you can do to reduce bank charges and pay less in bank fees and costs
Here are some suggestions to reduce the bank fees you pay:
- Banks want to encourage customers to do most of their banking with them, so if you have more than one account at a bank, you may be able to reduce bank fees by qualifying for no-fee or low-fee bank offers. If you have money in both checking and savings accounts, ask whether the balances may be combined for purposes of meeting the bank's minimum balance requirements, so you can reduce bank charges.
- If you do not care about receiving your canceled checks back each month, you might qualify for a special deal to reduce bank fees on your checking account.
- Ask your banker about ways to pay less in bank fees and reduce or eliminate bank charges that you currently pay. For example, if you write very few checks each month, a "basic" banking account might save you money (see Types of Bank Accounts). Remember always to read the fine print and think through the costs of switching any bank accounts.
- You might be able to reduce the banking costs on your checking account if you arrange for "direct deposit" of your paycheck (having your employer deposit your pay directly in your bank account). Having funds automatically deposited into your bank account also can help avoid bank fees from bounced checks.
- Look into special deals that reduce bank charges if you keep a certain amount in your bank account, arrange for "direct deposit", or do a lot of your banking electronically, such as banking online and at ATMs.
- Some banks offer "clubs" with special bank offers or reduced bank fees for certain groups, such as senior citizens. Check these out.
- Limit or avoid ATM fees by using your own bank's ATMs or those owned by institutions that do not charge ATM bank fees to non-customers. If you do pay an ATM fee, consider withdrawing larger sums each time so you will cut down on the number of transactions.
- If you are a good banking customer with a clean record, your bank might be willing to refund an occasional bank service charge for a late credit card or loan payment, a bounced check or some similar offense. You might also be able to get a lower interest rate on a credit card or other loan.
- Avoid bounced checks and related bank fees by balancing your checkbook.
- With "overdraft" protection, the bank will automatically honor a check you write even if you do not have enough funds in the bank account. The bank might still charge you interest or other bank fee but it should be less -- ask.
- Save on check printing / ordering fees. Instead of ordering checks through the bank, consider buying them from less expensive sources, such as online or mail-order companies. If you write a lot of checks each month, the cost savings could be significant.
- Every few years, compare your bank's costs / fees / charges to those of a few competitive banks. You may find a great bargain elsewhere or discover a better deal at your current bank. When comparison-shopping, concentrate on the bank accounts and services you actually use. Be aware that a low interest rate offered on a credit card or another loan may just be an introductory rate that could go up substantially after a few months.