First Person: How I Avoid Bank Fees

Yahoo Contributor Network

It seems that banks are trying to charge for so many different things now from ATM fees to fees for simply having an account. I have found that many of these fees are avoidable if you just know what to look out for.

ATM Fees

This is one of the most common and one of the most avoidable fees there are. Almost all banks now charge an ATM transaction fee for money that is withdrawn from an ATM that is not in their network. When you add in the ATM fee that you are charged up front for using one of these ATMs, you are sometimes looking at spending $5 just to get your money from your account. The easiest way I have found to avoid these fees is by simply having cash on hand at all times and planning ahead. I always have some cash on me. That way if I run into a situation where I have to use cash, I can. I also plan ahead when I am going somewhere that I know requires cash. I make sure to make the withdrawal from an ATM in my bank's network. Whenever I find myself in a situation where I do not have the cash I need, I either do without or I make the time to go find an ATM nearby that is in my bank's network.

Overdraft Fees

You get charged overdraft fees when you try to spend money in your bank account that simply is not there. This is one of the most expensive bank fees that there is. I avoid this one by keeping a close eye on my finances. I check the balance in my checking account at least weekly and frequently more often than that. I keep track of all of my outgoing expenses and the income that is coming in. I also always keep a buffer of at least $50 in my checking account at all times. That way if I forgot about a check I wrote or how much I spent on something, I have that buffer available.

Account Fees

Many places are beginning to charge just to have a simple checking account or savings account. I avoid these bank fees by making sure I understand the fine print regarding my account. With my checking account, as long as I have direct deposit of something going in there monthly, I am not charged a fee. I have setup as many things as I can as direct deposit to ensure that there is always something being direct deposited monthly. With my savings account, they charge a fee if the balance goes under $100. I make sure that I always keep a minimum of that much in my savings account at all times.

The best defense I have found against bank fees is keeping good track of my finances. As long as I plan ahead, know how much is going in and coming out, and know what the terms and condition are on my accounts, I am able to avoid most bank fees.

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