- Know the fees associated with your account. Ask what types of fees to expect and how you can avoid them. They creep up, and your bank might not prepare you for new fees either. For instance, large banks like Bank of America are instating monthly fees for debit card usage. While charges are between $3-$5, it's still a pretty significant fee for debit card users.
- Your purchasing habits are stored. In the ever-connected modern day world, purchases made by debit and credit cards are stored and analyzed. This might not mean a whole lot to you in terms of your debit card usage, but companies could use the data to determine your interest rates for credit cards. Keep that in mind if you tend to make not-so responsible choices like purchasing huge items spontaneously or blowing your paycheck in a 24-hour period. Otherwise, opt to make more cash purchases.
Banks seem to find a way to add extra charges to their online services. Kiplinger has put together a list of banks where there are no fees to cringe over.
As banks attempt to bolster their bottom line, many customers, especially at big banks, are getting stung by fees for formerly free checking accounts. The assault of new fees wouldn't seem so onerous if banks were paying more on deposits. But the average yield on savings was recently 0.22 percent and on checking accounts only 0.14 percent, according to the online bank-comparison site DepositAccounts.com.
However, these seven online banks (including one credit union that anyone can join) offer free checking accounts, charge fewer fees than big banks, and tend to offer higher rates. Because these banks lack dedicated ATMs, they usually reimburse you for other banks' ATM charges. You'll have to rely on direct deposit to put money in your account, although some banks allow you to deposit checks via your smartphone. As with traditional institutions, up to $250,000 per account is protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. or the National Credit Union Administration.
Ally lets you open its Interest Checking account with just $1 and promises 24/7 access to its customer-service representatives by phone, email, or online chat. The account has no monthly maintenance fee and offers mobile banking and free bill pay. Plus, it rebates all ATM fees nationwide. It also offers free person-to-person payments through Popmoney.
The account pays 0.4 percent interest on balances up to $15,000 and 0.75 percent on balances over that amount. By the end of the year, you will be able to use an iPhone, Android, or BlackBerry mobile device to deposit checks, transfer funds to accounts at other banks and pay bills.
Fees are going up, up, and away, according to a Bankrate study that was released today. Consumers need to be aware of these fees, especially during the holiday season, a time when there is an increased amount of spending. Managing your money is going to be even pricier, so users will have to be more aware of their budgeting practices and keep an eye on the sneaky bank fees. Here are some of the increases you should watch out for:
- ATM fees: The ATM fees have risen to $2.33 from the previous year, an increase of five percent. If you're using an out-of-network ATM, you'll be charged an average of $1.41. That's seven percent higher than last year.
- Minimum balance requirement: Note: This applies to accounts that require minimum balances. This year, the average minimum balance requirement to avoid monthly fees in a noninterest checking account has risen to $249.50 from $185.75 last year. For the case of interest-bearing checking accounts, it has increased to $3,883.40 from $511.22.
- Bounced checks: If you bounce a check this year, you might be paying the average of $30.47. This compares with last year's average bounced-check fee of $29.58.
Last year, American banks made over $20 billion on debit and ATM overdraft fees alone. Remember a good way to avoiding some of these bank fees is to check out online accounts such as ING or SmartyPig. As for ATM fees, make sure you have enough cash on hand, and withdraw money only at your bank's ATM machines or get cash back at grocery stores. Stay alert, Savvy readers!
There is one major problem, though. Find out what it is, and how the trojan works when you read more.
To learn more, just keep reading.
Still, according to SmartMoney, only two percent of checking account users and 16 percent of credit card users have gone paperless, while most consumers stick to the paper route. Even while going paperless can protect against identity theft, as long as you're using secure Internet connections and virus-protected computer software, most are resistant to change up their routines. To help get customers on board, banks may be offering reward incentives, or on the flip side, charging a small statement fee for users who won't get online. For me, paperless means a lot less mess and tracking online is easy, so I'm on board. What about you?
The article recommends a few solutions for making sure your login information is kept safe but is also accessible should you get into trouble, an accident, or worse. The suggestions include giving a lawyer or trusted relative all the information; dividing up different accounts to different people; or storing the information in a safety-deposit box or home safe.
Do you have an online estate plan? How would you go about ensuring your usernames and passwords are safe but accessible?
The Wall Street Journal identifies 10 fees you should keep an eye on, and while it mentions that you might have some luck asking your bank to waive a fee you catch on your account, wouldn't it just be easier to avoid them in the first place? Two of the fees listed by the WSJ stand out as particularly silly — $2 to $4 fees for visiting a bank teller more than a couple times a month, and $0.50 to $5 for making account inquiries or reordering checks over the phone.
Find out if your bank charges for any of these services; it's relatively easy to dodge them once you're aware. You can take care of most banking business online and make deposits through your bank's ATM.
The majority of you check your online account every day and should be pretty familiar with the balance in your bank account. Sometimes it can be painful to look at, but we all need to face the facts sooner or later! Do you know the exact balance or do you have a general estimate of how much cash is available?