Have you ever heard the question: “what is in your wallet? If so, read on, because the answer should be: Cash!!
Bank’s fee is one of the topics that people generally don’t pay too much attention to. It seems like no one had been exempt of a “small” bank fee here and there, and for a lot of people bank fees are a monthly recurrence. From checking account “maintenance fees” to overdraft protection, or ATM fees, they are on the rise.
This is a huge problem for consumers, that for whatever reason, people seem to tolerate. Banks take money out of our pockets on a regular basis, without any scrutiny, outrage, and this alone bother us here at Saving For Hope so much, that we decided to write an article about it.
Banks are profiting from fees today more than ever, and the fee pandemic seems to be on the rise. In fact, an article by Chime Bank in 2017 stated that banks made over 33 billion dollars in bank fees on 2016 and the number was projected to increase by 2018.
Here is a quick list of all the bank fees that you might be paying without even knowing it: 1- Early account closure fees – closing an account before a set period of time. 2- Foreign transaction fees – fees for spending money outside of the US. 3- ATM fees – fees for using an ATM not associated with your bank/or outside certain areas. 4- Overdraft fees – fees for over-drafting on your account. 5- The most lethal and mind-boggling of all! – Maintenance fees – monthly fee for “maintaining” an account. 6- Minimum balance fees – fees for not maintaining a minimum amount in your accounts (it can be charge on both checking and savings accounts) 7- Service fees – fees for meeting with a teller instead of using “free online services”. and finally, 8- Transfer fees – fees both for sending outgoing wires and for receiving incoming ones.
If that list of useless fees does not make you angry, I am not sure what will. However, instead of being angry and helpless, the most important thing you can learn out of this article is: you can do something about it!! Click To Tweet On this article we put together a list of actions that can lead you to bank freedom.
Banks are sneaky, and you need to be aware of the following:
- Processing orders/purchases in chronological order. One of the tricks that banks apply (which I think is super dishonest and unethical) is that they chose the order they can charge your account to get more fees out of you. For example, if you have a balance of $100 in your checking account and spend $40 on a grocery store, $50 on gas and $60 on a restaurant, banks can choose to charge you the $60 for the restaurant and the $50 for gas first, and finally the $40 for groceries. That way you will be hit with 2 overdraft fees instead. ($60+$50=$110 first fee + $30, second fee). If they would had charged the cost chronologically, you would had paid only one bank fee ($40+$50=$90 no fee, +$60=$150 first fee). ACTION: Ask your bank if they charge chronologically, and if they don’t, switch to a bank that does not practice this dishonest way of making more money out of you.
- Pay attention to your account’s settings. Look at all of your accounts (checking, saving, auto-saving, etc.) and find out if you are paying a monthly “maintenance” fee. Maintenance fees are also a super sneaky way for banks to make money of you. Doing this small, but important step, you will be able to determine if you have to make changes to your account’s setting. For example, if you have a checking account that charges a maintenance fee because you must have a minimum amount in it, you can see if that fee can be waived by doing something else like direct deposit, etc. ACTION: Being aware of, and eliminating Bank’s fee is the first step to freedom. Call your Bank today and start asking questions that will lead you to financial freedom.
- Pay your bills on time. Another way that banks make money out of you is by setting dates for you to make payments. This is particularly true for credit cards. Banks love this one, because they know that if you go over the date, it is your fault! But the truth is that banks know and bet on the fact that people make mistakes occasionally and people may forget a bill here and there. They know you eventually will forget something. But you can be on top of your bills and make sure that you pay then on time. For example, some bank’s apps offer bill pay reminders now, make sure you take advantage of those and get your bills paid on time. Especially the credit cards, to avoid a spike on interest rates and late fees. ACTION: Set reminders on your bank’s app to pay your more important bills: like mortgage, credit cards, etc. this will avoid overdraft fees and interest rates increases.
- Use ATMs that are part of your network. Simple, right? Well, people still pay for this fee! Only use ATMs that are either your bank’s or a partnering bank that won’t charge you a fee. If you do not know if your bank has partnering banks, you can ask. Smaller banks (because they do not have that many locations) sometimes can partner with larger banks for their customers to use the large bank’s ATM without any penalty. ACTION: If you use an ATM all the time, make sure you are using one that does not charge you a fee. If you have your bank’s app, you can find ATM locations near you that wont charge you a dime.
- Only use physical banks when absolutely necessary. This one is harder for older folks. Millennials seems to have not problem, never stepping on banks and only doing their transactions online. (That is why Banks are now starting to reinvent themselves into coffee houses, to attract Millennials into their doors) But older folks, still have an online stigma. But get out of that mind-set, and use your Bank’s teller only if needed. This will avoid unnecessary services fees. ACTION: If you have an online account, make sure you only use the online services. If you use the physical bank often, make sure you switch your online account to one that won’t charge you to use the facilities.
There you have it!! A few tips to get you started and let you keep more of your hard-earned cash. Don’t let the banks take advantage of you. Ask questions and if you think they are being dishonest, change banks. Banks like Chime Bank or Trustco Bank have promises to never charge, or charge fewer fees. (B.T.W., Please know that we are not associated with any bank, neither we make money of them. We just think they are good banks that operate ethically) Also, take advantage of the benefits your bank may have now, like apps, email reminders, notifications, overdraft rewind, etc. that will keep you in the loop if you are paying fees.
If you get organized and pay attention to your fees, you will see how you can save a few hundred dollars every year. That money can be used to save, or even better, to be invested, to make you more money. Don’t let the banks win! Take control of your accounts today. When the commercial ask you again: “what is in your wallet?” you can answer, CASH, cash is in my wallet. Keep it that way. Click To Tweet Enjoy!