As more and more banks continue to lose money as a result of the foreclosure crisis and the weakening economy, they are looking for more ways to make up for the lost revenue. I don’t know about you but I don’t have any extra money to give away to the banks. In this economy, it is important to watch and hold on to every penny. As my grandmother used to say, "Boy, you need to hold on to a dollar until you hear it holler."

Here are a couple of fees to avoid:

  1. ATM Fees. Chase Bank has joined Bank of America by charging $3 for non-member ATM withdrawals. Avoid these fees by using your own banks ATM when possible. If you find yourself frequently incurring ATM fees, consider changing banks. ING Direct offers an online checking account without the checks and a large network of free ATMs. Washington Mutual Bank also offers a free checking and high yield savings account combo.
  2. Minimum Balance Fees. There are far too many free accounts out there for anyone to have to pay a fee to have an account. If your employer offers direct deposit or you receive government benefits, you can pretty much get a free account anywhere.
  3. Overdrafts. Most banks now charge anywhere from $25-$35 for a bounced check. Make sure you balance your account regularly to make sure you have enough money in your account to cover the check. That $5 check could end up costing you over $40. Also, consider linking your checking account to a savings account or money market account for an additional protection.

Take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to peruse your bank statement. You'd be amazed at what you may find. I opened an account a year ago to get the account opening bonus and sort of forgot about the account. I thought the account was free so I did not think about it too much. I got a statement but did not bother to open it for a couple of months. When I did finally open the statement, I realized I had been charged a $3 fee causing me to have a negative balance. I went to the bank the next morning, deposited $3 to get the account out of the red and closed the account. Had I not checked the statement and realized my mistake, that $3 fee could have cost me big bucks.

Do you check your bank statements?


Bank of Internet Checking Account

Image Credit: Thrifty Fun

8 comments

  1. rachel @ master your card // March 18, 2008 at 9:11 AM  

    Another way to reduce your fees is to make sure that when you are paying off your debts you pay the ones that are changing you the most (combined fees and interest) first.

  2. Know The Ledge // March 18, 2008 at 10:09 PM  

    Bank fees are a monster on the average banking consumer. There are a lot of newer "e-Products" now that offer better interest rates, but fee penalties for calling in for customer service. Yet another facet of the banking fee game that can be a positive if you know how to manage it properly.

  3. Diana // March 18, 2008 at 11:10 PM  

    I have "web statements" but I never looked at it. I check my bank balance at least once a week to keep an eye on everything, and when I have overdraft (very seldom), I always call my Credit Union and they always were able to waive the fee.

    I think the best and cheapest way to bank is try the local credit union, they are not for profit and do care about their member's pockets!

  4. Roman // March 19, 2008 at 4:12 PM  

    I know how your feel, I was doing my taxes last week spent over 100 dollars on fee. ( atms alone)I need to find a new bank. I was with Northfork, Thinking about going over to hsbc, any advice?

  5. SingleGuyMoney // March 19, 2008 at 5:08 PM  

    @roman: I recommend ING or Etrade for an online account. If you want to open an ING and will open with at least $250, you can get a $25 bonus. Contact me at wannabefree30 @ gmail.com for a referral.

  6. Will // March 19, 2008 at 6:35 PM  

    1. Get a USAA checking account and they will reimburse you AT ANY ATM regardless of which bank is charging you fees!

    2. Get a USAA account, and it is FREE and there is never a minimum balance!

    3. Get a USAA account and get FREE overdraft protection from your savings or credit card!

  7. TFB // March 20, 2008 at 9:39 PM  

    USAA is great, but not everybody is eligible to become a customer.

  8. Mark // March 21, 2008 at 2:02 PM  

    Overdraft fees? I think avoiding overdrafts merely to avoid the fees misses the whole point of responsible personal finance in the first place! If you're not keeping track of how much money's in your checking account and bouncing checks left and right, you deserve death, or at the very least, a $25 spank in the ass.