How to Avoid Paying Bank Fees
As a banker, I have the honest and inside track on how to avoid paying bank fees, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars! It is easy to drain your bank account, one fee at a time, with overdraft charges, checking account "maintenance" fees, "per check" charges and even various service fees assessed for assisting customers with balancing their checkbooks.
Banks have the legal right to charge you these fees for legitimate services and may change them at any time. However, they are also legally obligated to inform you of their fees and any changes to them, which usually come in the form of a small leaflet tucked inside your statement that they are hoping you will throw away before actually reading.
Typical banking fees can range anywhere from as little as $5.00 for transferring funds from a savings account to cover an overdraft in checking, or as high as $39.00 for an actual overdraft that the bank may or may not pay in the event you don't have their special coverage limit allowing overdrafts to a specific dollar amount.
Read More Link On Right
Checking accounts can cost anywhere from $3.00 to $10.00 or higher per month to be "maintained" by the bank.
A bank does have the right to charge you for allowing them to hold your money on deposit for safekeeping, insured by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation).
No matter where you choose to bank, take time to compare fees and services before selecting the best choice for yourself.
1 The easiest way to avoid bank fees is the most obvious: keep careful track of every penny coming in and going out of your account and do not spend against the future! You may have a direct deposit going in every other Friday, so you write a check on Tuesday, depending upon the "float time" it takes for the check to hit the Federal Reserve before coming back to your bank for actual payment. You are thinking your direct deposit will be in by then, right?
Hopefully you know by now that checks are being processed by most places electronically and can be submitted for payment the same day you write them.
2 Keep track of your deposits and withdrawals daily. Banks are not non-profit organizations: they depend upon core deposits to meet their own loan obligations, and they need fee income to cover the basic expenses of any business.
If a customer is less than diligent about keeping track of his account balance and consistently overdraws his account but continues to make deposits that bring the account into the positive, the bank will happily accommodate the customer by paying the checks but charging the overdraft fees. There is no deception involved here at all.
3 Read the fine print and ask questions. When an account is opened at my financial institution, every bit of this information is openly disclosed to the customer. Free overdraft protection is offered, which is like a consumer loan with a hefty rate that is also disclosed.
A customer may or may not qualify for it, but in the event that he doesn't, he has the option of using a savings account for overdraft transfers, at the cost of $5.00 a transfer, rather than a $29.00 overdraft fee.
4 Be frugral and pay attention to your account activity. Do not write checks for funds not immediately available to cover these withdrawals. Otherwise be of the understanding that banks do have the right to charge overdraft fees according to their policies and will continue to do so if you are not scrupulous in watching your fund balances. Avoid these unnecessary overdraft fees by not spending money that is not yet available to you.
5 Ask questions. You always have every right to question any charges to your account and a bank will happily reverse any error they might have made. Simply ask to speak with an account representative to go over your questions, rather than attempt to resolve a dispute with a teller who may not be trained to handle extensive account inquiries.
You may also question any bank's check holding policies, which are put in place to protect the customer as well as the bank. A majority of banks today are unwilling to verify the authenticity of a check drawn off their institution for the simple fact that it potentially violates what is known as the Privacy Act.
The Privacy Act was put into place to ensure that banks and their staffs would be held to the highest possible standard in protecting sensitive customer information, such as social security and driver's license numbers.
Some banks feel that confirming a check drawn off them is valid could potentially violate the Privacy Act. Therefore, banks now have hold policies for local checks up to three business days to ensure that the check will be paid by the issuing institution.
Tips & Warnings
Despite the fact that credit unions may have more monetary appeal with lower fees and loan rates, customer service should really be the best measuring stick for choosing a financial institution.
I highly recommend keeping your accounts in one institution. Banks and credit unions are always competing. Each one has different appealing products and services to benefit you.
However, sticking to one place becomes an advantage in the long run, when banks or credit unions seek to reward who they consider loyal customers with higher CD rates not available to just anyone that only wants the CD and nothing else.
Be informed. Ask how much overdraft fees are at the time of account opening. Ask your bank if fees increase daily while your account is still overdrawn, or if the fee is a one time flat rate.
It costs banks nothing to provide you with free services, such as a debit card, online banking and overdraft protection. Do not be deceived into paying for them.
Read more: How to Avoid Paying Bank Fees |LINK
How to Claim Back Bank & Credit Card Fees By Mar Vin,
Credit card and bank charges are a thorn in most everyone's side They range from preset fees for the privilege of using their bank or line of credit, late fees, overdraft fees. What most banks and credit card companies do not want you to know is that there are ways to avoid and reclaim fees that have been placed on you.
Things You'll Need
Credit card statements
1 Be knowledgeable about your rights. Many banks and credit cards will impose fees on top of other fees because of your inability to pay the initial fees. It can seem like a never-ending downward spiral of mounting fees.
They assume most people will simply pay them, however, most will be solicitous if you complain. By simply asking to close your accounts will spur them into action. They want to know why and if you tell them because of ridiculous fees, most will refund them back to your account to keep you as a customer.
2 Remain vigilant about checking bank and credit card statements. If you notice any fees that are out of the ordinary, you can call customer service or go to a bank branch in person. Dispute them immediately once you realize they are there so it may be quickly resolved.
Do not let fees pile up on top of one another before filing a dispute It is easier to take care of them before they build and it will also put banks and credit card companies on notice. They are less likely to take advantage of someone who is hawkish about finances.
3 Do not take no for an answer. A bank or credit card company will never voluntarily refund your fees unless you complain and sometimes they will try to argue the fees once you dispute them.
If you have to take your complaint to another level, call the head office customer relations department or an account manager. The notion that persistence pays off is very real in a case like this. If you complain frequently, you will likely get all claimed charges refunded to you to get you off of their backs.
4 Prepare to take your dispute to the highest level possible. This requires a lot of research and investigation into past charges that you have incurred. Add up all of the fees that you have paid to a bank or credit card and send a letter requesting them back.
You must provide ample documentation to be able to do this as well as accurate numeric figures. If they do not respond, follow up with a phone call in a couple of weeks. If your fees are not credited back to you, it may be necessary to threaten to take them to small claims court. Be prepared to do so if necessary.
Read more: How to Claim Back Bank & Credit Card Fees |LINK
Checking Account Fees By Bryan Berg,
A checking account was once a place to store your money, but it's rapidly becoming a requirement. As global trends switch to electronic communication and "green" processes, direct deposit is becoming a requirement at more companies. This allows for a smooth transaction for both you and your employer, but checking accounts come with their own set of fees that can make that paycheck a lot smaller if you aren't careful.
Account Maintenance Fees
Though many companies have touted free checking as a major perk in the past, they are starting to come back around to monthly maintenance fees. Due to the change in overdraft regulations initiated in 2010, banks need to make their money somehow, and charging you a monthly fee just for keeping an account is their newest charge. You can also incur fees for receiving paper statements and conducting in-person transactions with tellers if your account prohibits those conveniences.
Having money in your bank is nice for security, but be careful when you try to access your funds. If you don't go to an ATM that is specifically intended for users of your bank, you could end up paying just to access your money. Worse, you might get hit with two fees--one from the bank who owns the ATM and one from your bank for going to an ATM owned by a different bank. According to Bankrate.com, the average consumer paid $3.74 in ATM fees for an out-of-network withdrawal in 2010.
The government banned overdraft fees as we knew them in August 2010, but it's still possible to overdraw your account. If you write a check but fail to account for the money that is tied up in the check, you'll be subject to an overdraft fee. The same applies to a transaction where you're not charged the full amount immediately, such as if you pay for gas at the pump or leave a tip at a restaurant on your debit card.
Fortunately, most fees associated with your checking account can be avoided. Maintenance fees are usually waived if you have direct deposit, carry a minimum balance or complete a specific number of transactions. Overdraft fees can be minimized by linking your checking account with a credit card or savings account.
ATM fees can be tough to avoid because you might not know of a bank-sponsored ATM in the area if you're not close to home, but most major banks have mobile phone applications that allow you to search for the nearest ATM administered by that bank. In addition, you can always ask for cash back on a debit transaction at a grocery store or pharmacy and avoid paying a fee entirely.
Read more: Checking Account Fees | LINK
Tips to Avoid Checking Account Fees By Luke Arthur,
Avoid Interest Accounts
Many people like the idea of being able to earn interest on the money in their checking account. At the same time, it often ends up costing you more in fees than you make in interest. Instead of getting an interest bearing account, get a free checking account. These accounts do not come with any inactivity fees or fees for using too many checks in a month. You simply get the basic checking services that you need without any costs.
Know Your Balance
When you have a checking account, you need to know what the balance is at all times. Many people do not keep track of their checking account balance and it ends up costing them a great deal of money in fees. Instead of randomly spending money and paying for it later, keep track of your account balance. This way, you can avoid insufficient fund fees which can be substantial with many banks in the industry.
Avoid ATM Fees
One of the most common fees that people have to pay is an ATM fee. When you need to get cash out of your checking account, avoiding a fee can save you a few dollars per transaction. Most of the time, if you use an ATM that is sponsored by your bank, you can avoid the fee. With some banks, you can use any ATM across the world and you will not have to pay a fee.
You could set up overdraft protection. By doing this, you can avoid the large insufficient funds fees that come with bouncing checks. You usually do this by setting up a savings account and having money automatically transferred from your savings account if you bounce a check.
Read more: Tips to Avoid Checking Account Fees |LINK
How to Avoid ATM Fees
Many ATM's charge users fees to make transactions. Such fees may seem small, but they really add up, taking a large chunk out of your budget. Fortunately, it's easy to avoid ATM fees most of the time.
Avoid ATM Fees
1 Set up your account at a bank that does not charge ATM transaction fees. Some checking accounts place a limit on the number of withdrawals you can do each month. These accounts may offer increased interest rates or lower monthly fees, but be sure they suit your spending habits.
2 Join a bank that has a large ATM network. Not all banks have the presence of some national chains, but many of them work together to provide increased coverage for their clients. Find out which banks are in your network, so you can avoid fees from using generic ATM's while you travel.
3 Use your debit card whenever possible to avoid using ATM's. Debit cards are free with most checking accounts and can be used almost anywhere. Some banks even offer perks for using your debit card if you hold savings accounts with them too.
4 Buy traveler's checks when you plan a trip to a foreign country. Some banks have international networks and allow you to use foreign ATM's with no fees. Traveler's checks reduce the hassle of trying to find and use ATM's in a different language, often providing a better exchange rate.
5 Anticipate your cash needs. If you have a limited number of no-fee ATM transactions, try to make withdrawals in larger amounts. It's more efficient to take out $100 and spend it over the course of a week than it is to use an ATM every day.
6 Get cash back when you make a debit-card purchase. Not only will cash back save you from paying ATM fees, but it also saves you the time of having to go to one. Be sure to ask your bank whether it charges a fee for using the cash-back option.
Tips & Warnings
Some smaller banks have started to reimburse ATM fees in order to remain competitive with larger chains.
Don't hesitate to pay an ATM fee if you're in an emergency situation and can't find a no-fee machine.
You need to be careful about the amount of money you keep in your wallet if you make large withdrawals each week. It may be safer to keep the majority of your cash at home and carry only what you'll need each day
Read more: How to Avoid ATM Fees | eHow.com
Ways to Avoid ATM Fees By Amanda Rumble
Taking money out of an ATM can cost money you can't afford to spend.
Be sure to take money out of an ATM as infrequently as possible if you want to save money. ATM fees jumped 5 percent in 2010 from 2009 to an average of $2.33, although the most expensive banks charge up to $5 for access to your own money. Not only do you get charged by the ATM, but your own bank might charge a flat fee or percentage as well. Avoid costly fees by planning ahead financially.
Stay in Your Network
Your bank likely participates in a network of ATMs that do not charge a fee as long as you are affiliated with them. Most of the time you need to go directly to a bank branch to use the network, but you may also stumble upon an ATM with your branch's logo.
When you're pulling money out of an ATM, prepare ahead and take out a little extra for situations where you must use cash. Pulling a large lump sum out means you only pay the fees once instead of for every purchase you need to make.
Take advantage of the option to run your card as debit instead of credit. If you're going to purchase something with your card anyway, get cash back with no additional fees. If you don't need anything, you can decrease the amount you pay by purchasing something small, like a pack of gum for 75 cents. You get the gum and your money, whereas with an ATM you will pay at least $2 and get nothing additional from the transaction.
If you must use the ATM frequently, get an account with a bank that reimburses you the cost of the ATM fees, up to a certain number of transactions per month.
Choose an online bank, such as ING, that does not have a brick and mortar location. Since they have lower costs overall, they're more likely to either offer lower ATM fees or reimburse you for fees incurred. They may also belong to a very large ATM network that you should have no problem finding in your location for easy access.
Read more: Ways to Avoid ATM Fees | LINK
How to Avoid ATM Withdrawal Fees By Sue Balk
Never pay an unnecessary withdrawal surcharge again at an automated teller machine. Excess surcharges and bank fees add up quickly, and many of these charges are incurred when you use an ATM at a financial institution other than your bank. Sometimes it's hard locating your bank's branch when you need cash, and you may find yourself justifying the transaction fee. Avoid the fees by using a few tips and planning ahead. You might be surprised by how much you save every month.
1 Purchase something small at a grocery store, drugstore or department store that allows a "cash back" option. These are called POS, or point-of-sale, transactions. Select the cash back amount needed. There's usually a limit, so plan ahead and stop at a local bank branch when you need larger amounts of cash.
2 Download the Allpoint application "Go-Everywhere" to your smartphone to locate the surcharge-free ATMs nearest you.
3 Locate your nearest bank branch by using navigation tools. Sometimes it's easy to forget what might be at your fingertips. If you have a GPS device or a mobile plan with Internet capabilities, type in your bank's name to find the nearest branch.
4 Plan ahead or pay with an alternate form of payment. Paying with a debit card until you can get to a surcharge-free ATM will save you the fee. Paying with a credit card will also save you the fee -- if you pay your credit-card balance in full on time.
Read more: How to Avoid ATM Withdrawal Fees |LINK
How to Avoid ATM Scam or ATM Theft
You see automatic teller machines everywhere. Convenient stores, fast-food chains, department stores, gas stations and even nail spas have machines inside. ATM theft is a big problem, though. Maybe you heard about the Arco gas station and Lunardi's Supermarket ATM scam incident in May 2008, when customers of both establishments were victims of identity theft.
The card reader/scanner at the checkout counter was tampered with and customers' card and PIN codes were stolen. This is a type of card skimming, wherein a device is inserted into the card slot on an ATM to capture your card information. Be aware of some of the tricks and protect yourself from ATM scam or theft.
1 Refrain from using your ATM/debit card when shopping. Use cash or credit card. If you have a check card, select "credit" instead of "debit." Selecting "credit" requires your signature instead of your PIN to authorize your purchase.
A signature slows the transaction of money to two or three days, as opposed to one day when using a PIN. Major credit cards have 100 percent fraud protection, often after the first $50. With a debit card, you may have limited protection, depending on how soon you notify your bank about the fraud.
2 Change your pin regularly. This also applies to your email and online bank accounts as well. When you change PIN, do not use your birth date and digits taken from your telephone or Social Security number.
3 As much as possible, do not use nonbank machines, as the risk of ATM theft scams is higher than machines at your bank. Start going to one bank branch and use that ATM for all your future transactions. This way, you can get familiar with the machine (card slot or card reader) and its surroundings (number of security cameras and where they are located).
Find out the phone number of the branch and its 24-hour service number and save the number in your cell phone.
4 Before you use an ATM machine, check for dubious devices like an extra video camera mounted to the ATM. This is a type of ATM scam in addition to skimming, where thieves mount a wireless video camera inside the ATM area so they can watch you as you enter your PIN.
Check the card slot. Do you see a plastic strip or film sticking out? Is there anything glued to the card reader or cash dispenser?
5 If your card is stuck inside the card slot, do not leave the machine. Call the branch with your cell phone or the bank's 24-hour service number and report the incident.
Also, never ever let a stranger help you retrieve your ATM card. If somebody comes near you and offers help, say no and make sure the person leaves you alone. In this type of ATM scam, the thieves insert a blocking device (a thin film inserted inside the card slot so that your card gets trapped inside).
They come up to you and offer help. They ask you to enter your PIN a couple of times. They may also hold the cancel button while you enter your PIN. This is just their way to memorize your PIN. Once you leave the ATM area, they will come back and take the glued film out. They now have your ATM card, PIN and money.
6 Use your body or hand to shield the ATM keypad from anyone standing behind you or next to you as you enter your PIN. Do the same if you use your debit card at the supermarket or department stores. Don't let the store clerk and people behind or next to you watch you as
you enter your PIN.
7 When you shop online, do not use your debit card, if possible. Also, take note that online shopping does not require you to enter your PIN.
8 When you receive an email from your bank, do not click on any link. If you are being asked to update any information, delete that email and open a new browser and type your bank's website yourself instead. It's best to delete your cache and cookies before going to your bank's website. When you're done checking your bank account, delete your cache and cookies again, even if you're using your own computer.
9 Make it a habit to check your account often. Check for any unauthorized transactions and at the same time see to it that the amount debited to your account is correct.
10 Report a stolen or lost ATM card immediately.
Read more: How to Avoid ATM Scam or ATM Theft |LINK