Once upon a time, bank accounts were simple, affordable places to store your money.
Unfortunately, times have changed. Financial institutions now rake in big bucks from busy consumers who fail to understand just how much their bank account costs them.
Don’t let your hard-earned money go to waste. Here are some common bank fees you should never pay:
Fee for overdrawing your account
Banks typically invite you to sign up for so-called overdraft “protection.” But this type of coverage is costly. Many banks will charge you a substantial fee for allowing an overdraft with your debit card to be processed.
Don’t let your $4 purchase at McDonald’s end up costing $39. If you don’t opt in for that overdraft protection, your debit card purchase generally will be denied at the point of sale.
However, even if you don’t sign up for overdraft protection, always beware that some transactions do not post immediately. So, you might be able to spend money that you do not have regardless of the available balance in your bank account at the time of the purchase.
The lesson is clear: Don’t depend on anyone else to protect you from your own bad financial behavior. Instead, keep track of how much you have in your account and don’t overspend.
Fee for using a foreign ATM
When you use an out-of-network ATM, you’re usually charged a fee, which typically amounts to at least a couple of bucks. This can add up rather quickly if you make multiple cash withdrawals in a month.
Instead of paying to access your own hard-earned money, check your financial institution’s website to locate a list of in-network ATMs that you can use free of charge.
Monthly maintenance fee
Prior to opening a bank account, pay close attention to the terms and conditions so the “gotchas” won’t sneak up on you.
Checking accounts typically come with a monthly fee unless certain criteria are met. For example, you might have to maintain at least a minimum monthly or daily balance, or have direct deposits added to your account every month.
Whenever possible, choose a bank that offers checking and savings accounts at little or no cost to you.
4. Fee for paper statements
Some banks will charge you if you request monthly statements delivered by mail. If your bank is among them, sign up to have your statements delivered electronically via email.
5. Fee for choosing the “wrong” bank
Too many people get comfortable with their bank and stick with it even if better options are available. This amounts to a stealth “fee” that causes you to pay too much for the privilege of banking.
Do you use any other methods to avoid bank fees? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.
How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes
Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.