Even though bank fees aren’t as prevalent as they used to be, some banks still have a LOT. This is especially true with some of the bigger bank chains, because they have a lot more overhead to manage than a smaller bank or credit union.
To help you save a little dough, here are some hidden bank fees to watch out for.
Probably the most common type of fee is a “maintenance” fee. This can range from $5 to $20 a month, depending on the bank you’re using.
The best way to avoid these fees is to simply keep the minimum amount required by the bank. For example, many banks will waive this fee if you have at least $500 in the account. This amount changes for each bank, but the idea is that the bank wants to have enough of your money to make it worth keeping the account open on their end.
Fee for Early Closing of an Account
So you’re tired of your bank and want to get out of business with them? That’s great… but you may have to pay for it. If you haven’t had your account for a given minimum period of time, many banks will charge you around $25 to cancel your account.
Which brings up a dilemma. Do you keep paying a maintenance fee? Or do you just take the $25 hit and get rid of the bank altogether? The math tends to work towards the latter, but if you’re getting hit with some of the other fees here, it will make even more sense to just move on.
This one is pretty much on your shoulders, but it’s still something to be aware of. Most banks will charge you about $29 if you overdraw on your checking account. Note that this is each time you do it. So what happens to some people is they may buy 2 things in the same day- one for $300, the other for $5. If the bigger one processes first, that may take you into the red, costing you $29.
But then when the $5 transaction hits, you’ll go deeper into the red. Now you’ll fork over another $29.
If you know you’re going to overdraw on your account, there are three options. You can either take the hit, use a bank that charges very small overdraft fees, or use one that has a system set up to draw money from another account to cover the charge. That may be a savings account with the same bank.
Foreign Exchange Fee
If you don’t travel abroad, this one doesn’t apply to you. But if you go out of the country, be aware that your bank may charge for you to exchange money or purchase something.
For small purchases this may not be a big deal, but it can really add up if you start spending a lot of money.
The best way to avoid these fees is to either go with a bank that doesn’t offer them or use a major credit card chain like Visa or Mastercard.