Wednesday, May 26, 2010, AM | Leave Comment
Service charges at big banks and other large financial institutions have risen a lot over the last decade or so. Checking accounts have become particularly expensive for consumers.
If you have a checking account at a large bank, make some phone calls to compare fees that might save you a couple of hundred dollars a year.
Here are a few great alternatives to expensive checking account:
Credit Unions (CUs)
CUs charge lower service fees. They also have lower balance requirements, charge less for checks and overdrafts, and sometimes have higher interest rates.
Savings & Loans (S&Ls)
S & Ls may not offer as good a deal as CUs, but they are usually cheaper than large banks.
Special Bank Accounts
Some big banks offer cheaper accounts for senior citizens, students but they usually don’t advertise them. Speak to a senior manager at your bank for such special accounts.
Stockbrokers’ Cash-Management Accounts
Depending on how big account you have, some deep-discount brokers may charge lower fees.
Money-Market Accounts & Mutual Funds
If you write a few large checks a month, this could be a great alternative.
Checks from Private Companies
You can save at least 50% by ordering checks directly from private companies. These checks meet all national standards.
In a Nutshell
It’s not as difficult as most folks think to negotiate with a financial institution. If you can, use your good record as leverage. The smaller the institution, the easier to negotiate. To avoid overdraft, ask the institution to alert you that you are about to be overdrawn.