Wednesday, January 28, 2015, AM | Leave Comment
Banks always seem to come with hidden penalties here and there, costing you absurd amounts of money every year. While mistakes can happen, many of these upsets come from not understanding the rules in place.
Before being scammed by the bank again, take these steps to protect yourself.
Read the Rules
When you open an account with a bank, there are rules. Much like the legal disclaimers for software no one reads, most opt to simply ignore the fine print.
Do not do this.
Disregarding the words is basically allowing the bank to take advantage of you.
This place is where you will be storing your money. Know what you’re getting yourself into.
Especially pay attention to the minimum balance. Most banks require you reach a minimum amount each month or else there is a service fee.
By knowing what all of these little fees are and how to avoid them, you’re saving yourself a lot of pain and money further down the road.
The joy of the internet is spreading to the banking world. Places like Ally are completely online and can end up saving you a lot in the long run.
Because they do not have multiple branches to upkeep or more employees to pay, they are far less likely to slip in devious little stipulations.
Many drop the monthly maintenance fee entirely. Be careful, however, since many sites can claim to be banks.
Make sure they are insure through the FDIC and come with a happy customer base before signing anything.
Things like direct deposit and paperless statements are all free services that help the bank help you.
Places like Wells Fargo and Citibank are more than happy to waive monthly account fees if you sign up for such services.
Interestingly enough, these services usually do not come with any of their own fees.
Because it’s helping them save money and transition toward a totally digital presence, this increases your profitability in their eyes.
While overdrafting is never something you actively pursue in your spending habits, it is something that does happen, resulting in some of the worst fees in the banking community.
Don’t even get people started on when an overdraft happened when they didn’t have enough money to pay it off leading to a harsh cycle and very painful memory.
If it happens to you more than once per year, it could be worth it to invest in a form of overdraft protection that saves you from the charges.
Chase, for instance, has a system where you can tie your debit card to your credit card so any overage is immediately transferred to credit.
Mistakes can and do happen. In those cases, sometimes the simplest solution is asking for help.
Head to your local branch or call a representative on the phone.
Explain to them the situation and see what they can do to help.
Provided you are polite, most representatives are willing to bend over backward to make sure your issue is solved.
They understand how upsetting it is to owe money because of an accidental account balance that was too low or an overdraft that was just one cent too many.
While you may not be able to clean the entire slate, chances are you can get at least one fee removed.
Banks are equally as frustrating as they are convenient. Their unwanted and inconvenient fees can drive any sane person to madness.
Before giving up on the financial system altogether, stay focused on the best ways to use it to your advantage.
Jason Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. He currently writes for Checkworks.com, a leading supplier of personal and business checks.