The 3 Most Common Banking Fees (and How to Avoid Them)

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Bank accounts are meant to keep your money safe, and help you to save, not cost you. As you rack up the charges, banking fees can make you feel like you’re losing money, and that’s because you are. Having a bank account shouldn’t feel like another set of bills to pay. By learning about the most common fees, and a few tricks to make certain you avoid them going forward, you’ll make banking fees a thing of the past.

The Banking Fees to Look Out for

1. Over Draft Charges and Insufficient Funds

If your account has overdraft coverage, then your bank will allow transactions to go through, even if you do not have enough money in the account to cover that transaction. Generally, the charge for this is around $35. One way to avoid it is to look into overdraft protection which allows funds from a linked savings account to be used to make up the difference. 

When you don’t opt in to overdraft coverage or protection, the bank may decline the charge or return it as unpaid if there is not enough money in your account to cover it. This can lead to a fee of around $35, and may also involve a charge from the seller. 

One of the best ways to avoid these charges is to set up a notification for when your account balance is running low. You can have one delivered directly to your cellphone as a text message.

2. Monthly Maintenance and Service Fees

Not all checking accounts are free. Many charge fees for maintaining a checking or savings account. Generally these range from $5-25. There can also be additional service fees if you exceed a certain number of transactions or drop below a minimum balance.

Many banks will offer free accounts under certain conditions, such as if you maintain a minimum amount in the account or keep a linked savings and checking account. Make certain that the account you have works well with what you need it for, and work with a bank employee to find the account who’s conditions you so you’re not paying banking fees. You should be picky with the monthly subscriptions you pay for, and you should be equally as picky with the monthly bank maintenance fees you’ll pay.

3. Transfer and Withdrawal Fees

For transfers, it’s often the case that a wire transfer will be the fastest way to send money. But this does cost money, from $20 for domestic to $35 for international. While that fee is pretty unavoidable, if you plan ahead you may not need the speed of a wire transfer. See if your bank offers online transfers through an app. Many do, and there is often no fee for that. 

Another fee you can avoid best by planning ahead are ATM withdrawal fees. When you use an ATM without a relationship to your bank, you are paying a charge to the ATM, up to $5, and can be paying the same again to your bank. See if your bank offers an app that can tell you where the nearest free ATM is, and try to plan ahead when you do make withdrawals so you have enough cash. 

Bank accounts are there to help you manage your money and achieve your financial goals. They should not be a drain on your resources. It’s time to stop paying fees. Creating a few simple habits and using technology like alerts and apps can help you save money without thinking about it so you are free to concentrate on bigger things, like your first day at your next job. 


About the Author: Alexandra Mendez-Diez has worked as a freelance writer and edtor for the past decade. She loves that the job entails writing about such a wide variety of topics, ranging from cattle-handling best practices to how-to guides for tracing ancestry through cookbooks, with all kinds of exciting stops along the way.

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