LifestylePersonal Finance

Are You Paying Too Much in Bank Fees?

Many people waste money each month on unnecessary bank and credit card fees and charges. Typically, these are small charges here and there, but overtime they can add up to a lot of extra expenses.

Unfortunately, some people do not realize that there are banks accounts available that do not charge these small fees on a regular basis. Here is some basic information to help you determine if you are paying too much on standard bank or credit card fees.

Bank Fees
The best way to check and see if your bank is charging you any type of regular fees or charges is to look at your last bank statement. If you see any bank related charges, it may be time to set-up a new bank account. There are banks that offer accounts that have no account keeping fees and no charge for monthly statements. Some banks do require you to maintain a minimum balance in your account to receive these free services, but there are still some banks that offer free account, with no minimum balance requirements. The important is that you shop around for the right bank and that you ask each bank to see their fee schedule prior to setting up an account.

Another way that many banks charge customers is on the use of the EFTPAS or ATM card. Be sure to find out if there is an additional charge for using these cards or for withdrawing cash. If there are certain places you can use your cards without being charge, be sure that you understand you bank’s network, and where you can use your card for free. Check your bank statement each month and be sure to question every additional fee, and determine how to get the fee removed or avoid future payments.

Direct Debits
Direct debits are things you approve to come out of your bank account on a regular basis. This may be a monthly bill you need to pay or a subscription to a certain service. Thoroughly review you bank statement and make sure that all of your direct debits are accurate and that you actually approved them all. If anything looks odd or out of place, contact your bank immediately. Also, look to see if there are any monthly bills, you can remove. Perhaps you signed up for a subscription to an online site that you no longer need or use. Cancel your subscription so you can avoid this monthly bill. This can help you save money and better budget your expenses.

Credit Card Fees
Banks are not the only ones who add extra fees to their accounts, credit card companies do too. So whether you obtained your credit card through your bank or a credit card company, take a close look at your monthly statement. See exactly what you are paying for interest or late fees. If you have several credit cards, you may want to seek the advice of a financial counsellor to see if it would be better to consolidate all of your credit cards into one card, so you only have one monthly payment to make. This could save you a lot of money on late fees and interest costs. If you do decide to consolidate your credit cards, be sure to cut up your old ones so you are not tempted to use them again.

Old Bank Accounts
If you have an old bank account that you never officially closed out, but have not used in years, you may be entitled to get that money back. There is currently over one billion dollars of unclaimed money from old bank accounts, shares, and life insurance just waiting to be collected. You can quickly do a search on the government website to see if there is any money that you have not collected yet. If you believe that you should have money from an old bank account, but it is not listed on the government’s site, you should contact that bank to inquire about the status of your account.

It is vital that you check your bank and credit card statements on a monthly basis. This will help to ensure that there are no unnecessary bank charges on your account. If you do notice extra fees on your statements, it is important that you contact your financial institution as soon as possible. If you wait months to contact your bank, you may not be able to recoup all of the fees you were charged.

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1 Comment

  1. November 27, 2013 at 2:31 pm — Reply

    I can answer this question with a simple NO. I’ve been a credit union member since 2011 and I haven’t paid a single bank fee since. I used to be with one of the big banks and finally got to the point where I was tired of their fees. The great thing about credit unions is that they are non profits, so they don’t have the same pressure to make money that most banks do. That allows them to pass on great customer service and fee free banking to their customers. Good post though, many people don’t know how much money they are losing by not looking at their bank statements.

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