How to avoid bank charges

With a lot of people struggling to pay debts, people need to watch their bank accounts closely for unnecessary charges. Even a handful of bank charges could push a person deeper into debt, making it difficult to recover financially. Follow these essential tips to avoid bank charges and keep the money that belongs to you, according to http://www.lifehack.org.

Understand what your bank can charge

The government sets regulations that prevent banks from charging outlandish fees. For instance, banks used to charge overdraft fees for each purchase that exceeded the account balance. If you purchased three things in one day, then you could get charged three overdraft fees. The bank would fund the purchase, but at a steep penalty. Today, banks must give customers the option to opt in or out of overdraft protection.

Despite some regulations, banks still get to charge relatively high fees for simple mistakes and services. Always read the fine print before opening an account. If your bank updates its policies, read the new fee structures so you understand exactly what your bank can charge.

Search for banks without unnecessary charges

Not all banks try to make money out of every transaction. If you are tired of paying fees for things like ATM withdrawals and talking to a teller, search for banks that don’t charge for those services. There are plenty of options, including online banks.

 Bundle services to avoid bank fees

Banks want you to use as many services as possible, so they eliminate certain fees for customers who use bundled services. Someone with a current account might have to pay a small monthly fee. Adding a savings account could lower or eliminate that fee.

Talk to your bank about how bundled services could help you avoid unnecessary fees. If you are not satisfied with the response, start exploring alternatives with better, cheaper services.

Avoid overdraft fees by keeping enough money in your accounts

Banks usually charge overdraft fees when you spend more money than you have in your account. Keeping a close eye on your current and saving balances will help you avoid overdraft fees.

Banks often charge fees for continuous transfers, so you may want to consider using a money transfer service to avoid these charges. Doing so could help you avoid numerous fees and potentially overdrafting your bank account.

 Use online banking to avoid paper statement fees

Now that most banks offer online services, members may have to pay extra for paper statements. As long as you have a computer and Internet connection, you can avoid those paper statement fees.

Most banks will let you choose whether you want paper or electronic statements. Ask if you have to pay for paper statements. If you do, consider opting out of that service. You would spend less money printing your online statements than having the bank send you paper versions in the mail.

Choose an account with fewer charges

Even at the same bank, members may pay different amounts for similar services. You can save money by choosing an option that matches the way you prefer using your account. For instance, if you prefer going inside the bank to talk to a teller, you may have to pay a fee unless your account covers the service. Other accounts may charge for using ATMs.

Find an account that will charge you less for the services you plan to use.

Ask the bank to waive fees

Banks want to make extra money by charging fees, but they don’t want to lose long-term customers over piddling amounts. If you receive a charge that you think is unfair, contact the bank to ask about waiving the fee. Many banks will remove the charge from your account to keep your business.

Some research shows that 44 per cent of people have convinced their banks to forgive fees. You are more likely to get a refund by talking to service reps nicely and moving up the chain of command until you find someone authorised to remove the fee.

Since banks want to keep their best customers, long-term members without previous charges may have more success.

According to http://www.bankrate.com most banks want you to use as many of their services as possible, and they would give you free perks for doing so. Many of those services won’t bring additional bank fees and can help you get the free current account and savings account you want, says Weston.

“Things like direct deposit, online-only banking and paperless statements help banks,” she says. “These are all things that can raise you just a bit in the hierarchy of profitable customers.”

Ask to get a bank fee waived. Good customers can often get bank fees eliminated if they ask politely and have a strong history with the bank.

“To a bank, you are worth hundreds and hundreds of naira to them over a lifetime, because they use your money to make more money,” says Sethi. “They don’t want to lose you over a little fee.”

For example, if you realised that you have overdrawn your account for the first time in several years, a banker will likely be willing to drop the fee for you.

“Pick up the phone and tell them you got a fee and you would like to have it removed,” Sethi says. Be calm but persistent, and you can typically get at least one bank fee removed.

Some banks that offered free accounts are moving to paid, but if you can make do with fewer services or higher minimums, you might still be able to snare fee-free offerings.

“If your bank is now requiring you to have an extra in your account, you should consider doing that if you can afford it. You are certainly not giving up very much in (savings account) interest earnings in this environment,” Weston says.

Similarly, you may be willing to limit the number of transactions you make or turn down free cheques to avoid monthly fees. “See if you can adapt your behaviour to match what your bank wants,” Weston says.