January 19, 2010

5 Ways To Save On Bank Services



In our high-tech world, you just can’t get along without a bank account.  Sure, there are a few people who live in a cash only world but for the majority of us we need some type of checking or savings account.  Often these accounts come with hidden, and no-so-hidden fees.  It seems that there is a very high cost to the convenience of banking at a specific institution.

Most of us choose our financial institution for personal reasons.  It’s close to work, close to home, has a branch in the grocery store, has ATMs where we need them, and many others.  And we may be lulled into complacency after years of being a customer.  But times are changing!  We, as savvy consumers, are taking control of our finances and reclaiming every penny.

5 Ways To Save On Bank Services

1.  ATMs — use only ATMs that do not charge you a fee.  The price of convenience can be very high.  If you withdrawal $20 and pay the now typical $2 ‘convenience fee’ you are paying the equivalent of a 10% surcharge for the privilege of using your own money.  If you can’t get to a free ATM, consider stopping at the store to pick up a necessity and getting cash back.

2.  Check Printing — Banks and Credit Unions can charge upward of $25 for a box or two of plain checks.  By using a discount check printing company such as Walmart Checks, Current or VistaPrint you can save up to $20 per order!

3.  Overdraft Fees — The average overdraft costs consumers $30, just in fees from their own bank.  Add to this the fees from the merchant and you’re easily at $40 or more!  Per incident.  By linking your checking account to your savings account, you can often avoid having insufficient funds and thus overdrafting your account.  Some banks and credit unions will let you have an overdraft loan.  These loans are not the optimal solution but can save you from paying high overdraft fees in exchange for paying a small amount of interest on the loan.  The best way to avoid overdraft fees is to keep your account in balance and be honest with what you have in the account.

4.  Online Banking — More and more banks are charging its customers to complete face to face transactions.  Banking technology has evolved to provide a very safe environment in which on-line transactions are quick, seamless and save both time and money.   With online banking transactions and bill-payer services, you may never have to go into the bank again!  Check with your bank to verify their policy regarding on-line banking.  If they charge a fee you should shop around for a new financial institution.

5.  Monthly Maintenance Fees — It’s your money and you should not have to pay the bank to keep it.  If your financial institution charges you a monthly fee for the privilege of having your account with them, find out how you can get rid of that fee.  Often, the fee can be waived if you have your pay check signed up for direct deposit.  If you carry a significant balance or have multiple accounts in good standing you need to ask about waiving that monthly fee.  Stop paying for the privilege of having the bank hold your money!

By implementing these 5 simple ides you can see real savings in your pocket!  Don’t let banks charge you for services you don’t need.  Banks earn interest off the money you have them safeguarding.  Yes, they are a business and a for profit one at that.  But you are the consumer and you have a choice.  It’s your money, don’t give it away unless you make that choice!  Every little bit saved gets you one step closer to your ‘someday’!

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