Part two of Post Christmas Pinching:
This tip is very simple. You should have absolutely no monthly fees on your bank accounts. Simple. If you are charged monthly fees, it’s time to switch banks.
You should have access to free Bill Pay as well. Utilize this feature. It will save you in stamps, in envelopes and in waiting for checks to clear your account. It works by the bank withdrawing the money you authorize out of your account and placing it in a bank owned account. They then cut a check to the place you authorized payment to. This also prevents people from having access to your banking information (shown on the bottom of your checks).
I am a big fan of overdraft protection. If there is not sufficient funds in the account, the bank will cover the check but charges me a fee. There are pros and cons to be weighed with this option. A. Pro- You avoid getting charged by the bank and the place you wrote the check to. You only get charged by the bank. B. Con- Your debit card will still work, which can equal high bank fees if you have made a mistake in your check register. The best bet it to keep a meticulous check register to avoid any overdraft fees.
Online banking should be free. I access my account daily to see what has cleared, verify my direct deposit payroll was received, pay bills with Bill Pay and keep an eye out for suspicious activity on the account.
Find an account that doesn’t limit the amount of transactions per month. Find out before opening an account with a Debit card if there are associates fees per use or if you need a replacement card. Banks need your business. They should offer a lucrative package for you banking with them.
I typically do not order my checks through the bank as I found that you can get them cheaper and more personalized through other retailers. I was very pleased with ordering checks from Wal-Mart the last time I placed an order. Artistic Checks frequently runs deals and I have always had good luck with them.
I recommend adding the phrase, Void After 90 Days above your signature on any checks you order to keep people from holding checks. It will make for easier book keeping if checks do not go uncashed for months.
If you are currently paying monthly fees to your bank, speak to the bank manager and ask if they will waive the fees. If they are unwilling to do so, then change banks. Shop around until you find a bank that offers completely free banking.
Even if you only pay $15.00 a month for a banking fee, that is $ 180.00 a year that you can put back in your own pocket.
Refuse the fee, bank free or it’s time to flee!