Today, once that was nothing much more than an annoyance to banking customers has become a big income stream for banks. Fees of all sorts, particularly overdraft fees, can add millions of dollars to the bottom line for banks all around the country. In order for you to get the most out of your banking choices, I’ve put together this article which will give you a little more insight about bank check fees.
Bank Check Fees
There is no shortage in competition when it comes to not only choosing a bank, but choosing which type of checking account you want to get. Taking the time to compare and contrast the individual fees being charged by the banks you are considering opening an account at can save you a lot of bank check fees over time.
Here are many of the things you need to consider prior to opening your account:
1. Choose the right type of checking account for your needs and your budget.
You can usually find a free account that doesn’t require you to maintain a minimum balance and that won’t charge you any fees. Of course, even with this type of account, if you become overdrawn you will be charged for that, but we’ll go over overdraft fees in more detail a little later.
Some of these free accounts may be perfect for you but if you have more money to deposit and you don’t mind maintaining a minimum balance you can actually earn money on your checking account by getting an interest bearing account.
You can also use a money market account for checking but it will require a much larger initial deposit as well as maintaining a minimum deposit amount. You will also be limited to the number of checks you can write each month. Keep these things in mind before you open the account.
2. Be willing to compare your local banks, and their fee structure, with online banks.
You will usually get a better deal with an online bank, though in many cases if you’re not opening an interest bearing account, you will still have to worry about overdraft fees anyway.
You will need to find out everything you can about whether or not you need to maintain a minimum balance and how much you will need to open the account.
3. Overdraft fees can cost you a lot of money.
Today, many of us who struggle living paycheck to paycheck find ourselves upside down in the bank. Trying to establish a budget that really works, and sticking to it, is the best thing you can do for your bottom line.
If at all possible, avoiding overdraft fees will help you keep more of your money instead of uselessly giving it to the bank. Some banks will allow you to open a small savings account and you can tie that with your checking account so it will automatically transfer money if you fall short in your checking account.
This is usually the best arrangement since many “overdraft protection” options aren’t really that much protection. In many cases all these programs do is pay whoever you made the check out to (which isn’t all bad since at least you won’t be charged by them too in the event of an overdraft) but they will still charge you an overdraft fee.
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Having your account tied to a savings account that will automatically transfer the needed funds without any type of fee, or a minimum $3 or $5 fee as a “convenience” fee is better than a $35 or higher fee for the check that bounced.
Fees may make a lot of sense for the banks, but they don’t do one thing to help your bottom line, and that is what you really care about… your own money and making it go as far as you can. So, do all you can to avoid bank check fees by following these tips.