There was a time that having a bank account at a big bank was a money maker for customers and not a money loser. Those days have come and gone. The national banks have increased the number of fees that customers are being charged in order to generate more revenue. Customers are being hit with monthly maintenance fees, service fees, and low balance fees that could take as much as $15 a month from their accounts. There is no reason that you should start forking your hard money over to a bank in the form of fees. Here are a few ways that you can deal with rising bank fees.
Start shopping for a new banking home
There are still banks out there that will not charge you fees for a checking or savings account. You should start by checking with community banks and credit unions since they are known to offer a number of free services to customers. Next, you should look at online banks since they tend to have better interest rates and possess many no fee products. Search for financial institutions that have low minimum balance requirements, no monthly maintenance fees, and no transaction requirements.
Find out how to avoid fees at your current bank
If you choose to stay with your bank then you need to find out how to get around bank fees. Banks often offer free accounts to customers that take advantage of their services. For example, customers with large balances in their checking accounts are not subject to minimum balance fees. Banks refer to these customers as premium customers because they count on their large deposit balances to keep the doors open. You can also enroll in direct deposit since many banks waive the monthly maintenance fees for customers that sign up for direct deposit.
Negotiate with your current bank
Don’t let your bank take you for granted. As a long-term customer, you have a lot of leverage with your bank. It costs banks a lot of money to advertise and attract new customers to replace existing customers. You can threaten to take your business elsewhere if your bank is trying to subject your account to additional fees. The chances are good that your bank will waive your fees if they believe you will close your account and take your money with you.
As you can see, you have a number of options that you can try to keep your bank account from getting hit with additional fees. The key is to be proactive and not just accept a rise in fees. Banking fees can cost you thousands of dollars over your lifetime. So, take the time to find a bank that shows you they appreciate your business by helping you to actually hold onto your money.
Mark Riddix III is a registered investment advisor with New Horizons Financial Management and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his blog at buylikebuffett.com.