Bank fees are costing consumers hundreds and even thousands of dollars a year. With a bit of common sense and good banking practices you can learn how to easily avoid these fees in the future. Thankfully, new federal banking rules are quickly cracking down on practices that have affected consumers in recent years. However, banks are still finding excuses left and right to charge users for everything they can. Follow these steps to avoid the most common banking fees.
The best thing you can do to avoid falling to predatory banking techniques is to educate yourself as a consumer. Federal regulations in recent years have changed in regards to what you can and can’t be charged for. Your bank will usually send you a letter informing you of any changes but it is important that you as a consumer take the time to actually read these letters so that you are not taken by surprise.
Take advantage of Online Banking
Online banking offers plenty of opportunities to avoid those nasty fees and it is far more convenient than going to your brick-and-mortar bank. Most banks nowadays offer the option to go paperless and view your statements online which will offer a significant decrease in account handling fees and other services.
Ally.com is a 100% online bank that offers CD’s, savings accounts and IRAs.
Choose the right type of account for you
Unfortunately, we tend to forget that bank associates are also salespeople and their job is to offer as many services as they can even though they are not always needed. Speak with a customer service representative and educate yourself on the services you currently have setup and decide for yourself whether they are worth it or not. For example, most people nowadays don’t even use checks anymore but banks keep offering a checkbook because they get a decent fee out of it.
Take steps to educate yourself at about.com
Customers who are in a good standing with their bank can usually talk to a representative or associate and get a fee removed from their statement if it’s within reason. Banks do not wish to lose customers to other banks and to them you are worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year. A good example of this is if you’ve overdrawn your account; if you’ve been a loyal customer for years and this is the first time this has happened, you should have no problem getting this fee removed once or twice. Don’t make a habit out of it though; banks will quickly realize what you’re up to and will shut you down quickly.
Try searching the web for these types of questions
Don’t be afraid to change to a different bank
If you find a bank that offers you a better deal do not be afraid to make the change. Keep in mind that in the end we are all customers and we need to choose what is best of us regardless of brand loyalty or previous commitments. Again, if you’re concerned about a fee or a policy, do not be afraid to discuss it with a bank associate and do let him know that you’re thinking about the possibility of changing banks.
There are plenty of independent online comparison sites to help you compare banks. Use them!