This is a guest post by Fred, who manically monitors CD rates to help you save more money.
Banking is a part of life. In today’s economy, it’s nearly impossible to function without a bank. That doesn’t mean you need to be wasting money on fees, however. No matter your income level or savings account size, you shouldn’t have to pay any fees – especially unnecessary ones. If you are a reader of Gain Money Control, you know that you can’t build wealth unless you make the most of your savings.
Here are the worst banking fees that you need to avoid and have no excuse to pay:
Overdraft fees are the silent killer of many people’s monthly budgets. It’s easy to miscalculate or try to “float” a check for a bill, hoping to avoid the late fee and get a deposit into the bank on time to cover it. The easiest way to avoid overdraft charges is to “pad” your checking account. Rather than using fancy “automatic transfer” setups (that always seem to fail when they shouldn’t, causing headaches), just virtually remove money from your account. In other words, subtract $100 or $200 from your check register and pretend it’s no longer there. This is the easiest and most effective way to avoid overdraft charges.
These are another service that, while convenient, add up over time… and quickly. If your ATM withdrawal costs you $3 a pop, you might be spending $15/month just to the ATM. If that’s the case, you’re spending $180 per year to the digital monster. Is it really worth that? Several banks offer free ATM services and it usually costs nothing at a good bank to go into the teller and make a withdrawal in person. Most banks with their own ATMs do not charge to use the in-house machines. Plan ahead and avoid using the networked ATMs around town and you can save big.
Monthly Maintenance Fees
Many banks are charging monthly maintenance fees for accounts that do not meet minimum criteria. A savings account with less than $100, for instance, might incur a $3 monthly charge. Checking accounts with under $300 might have a $15 or a price-per-transaction charge. Avoid those fees by either keeping the minimum balances on hand or switching to a bank with no minimums. A savings account with $25 in it, for instance, will steadily be reduced to $0 over time by those $3 fees, even if it’s a “high interest” account.
Avoiding these three fees can put $100 or more in the average family’s wallet per month!