A majority of the people are dependent on banks and their services but they are being subjected to financial hardship following the steady increase in the price of bank fees over the years. The situation has never been favorable for people seeking loans from banks and its related services because the narrative of one’s relationship with banks has more or less remained unchanged as far as fee structure is concerned. The average overdraft fee has shot up to about $33.36, 67% higher than the average overdraft fee in 2000 which was back then $20.
Banks were criticized for the rising ATM fees too which were $3.09, a record high for the 15th year in a row, and was 2% higher than the year before. However, these continue to be accepted by the masses as they come under the purview of the government. No doubt, these can be avoided with some handy tips and strategies.
Here are 5 ways to avoid unnecessary bank fees:
1. Overdraft Fees
According to a report by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), it has been estimated that Americans gave over $11.68 billion to big banks in overdraft fees alone. Make use of the technology to activate alerts for low bank balance on your smartphone. In the coming days, the economic condition looks bleak and there is a tendency for you to miss the forthcoming debits. Low bank balance alerts keep you posted on the account details that can alleviate unnecessary costs.
2. ATM Fees
How many times have you gone past an ATM and never bothered to draw cash only to realize later that you should have actually done that? For example, you’re out to grab some food and at the counter, they tell you, cash-only. As expected, the wallet is empty and you rush to the near ATM to draw some cash. To pay $10 you may end up paying $3 or maybe even more to get your own money! Always, make sure to draw cash whenever you go past an ATM. For most cash-strapped citizens some even provide you funds for purchases.
3. Late Fees
As mentioned above, for overdraft fees always set reminders for the entire bill due dates. Today, smartphones are a part and parcel of our lives so why not make use of it effectively by setting reminders? Make it a practice for every multi-utility bill that is generated every month and track your expenses on the go.
4. Monthly Service Fees
Traditional banks are known for charging a monthly service fee if you aren’t meeting a few requirements like unable to maintain a minimum balance. Think of switching to an online bank or credit unions as they offer free-checking accounts including other services and help save your money in the account. Since the mobility of a few people is restricted, it makes more sense to go online than make multiple trips to the traditional banks and stop spending on the transport and divert the spendings to your savings.
5. General Fees
The prevailing situation is such that every individual has become a victim of helplessness and stress. The most hit are those who had few savings and depended completely on their incomes and never saw the COVID-19 coming. People are yet to come to terms and it will take a long time before the pandemic subsides. Nevertheless, attempting to approach your bank to find out if they can waive off your fees is fine, sounds immature, and silly but nothing wrong in giving a try. At the end of the day if it works, then stay happy, if it doesn’t, don’t worry, this is a temporary phase in your life!