Three things in life are certain: you’ll live; you’ll die; and you’ll pay taxes. But banks like to include a fourth: hidden bank fees. These fees are overlooked by banking customers more often than you might think. They’re so engrained in fine print, and people are busy, that nobody even notices. Plus, these fees often range from $2-$15 dollars, a minute price that can easily hide between day-to-day transactions.
What’s worse is the fact that when they do finally get noticed, there’s really no way to reverse them. Banks don’t show any remorse to policies and fees they claim were clearly outlined when you signed up. The reality is that people, for the most part, don’t pursue much research on their chosen bank.
Account Maintenance Fees
Some may not realize that banks charge a fee for just having an account with them. The fee may be monthly or yearly, and can be more or less than about $150 a year. TD Bank, for example, charges a $15 fee for accounts lower than the daily minimum of $100. However, there are a number of banks that have little to no maintenance fees that are worth checking out.
It’s common practice to use the nearest, most convenient ATM whenever we need cash. Depending on the area, ATM’s can charge anywhere from $1-5$ just for using their machine for a transaction. Yet, it’s possible to avoid these pesky fees. Nerdwallet outlines some stealthy options for those looking to avoid ATM fees, like utilizing a store’s cashback option rather than resorting to an ATM.
There are also plenty of banks that will reimburse most or all ATM fees.
Nowadays, banks can offer a premium option for their customers that allows them to take out more money than currently available in their bank account. For example, a person can overdraft their account on groceries that cost $100, even though they might only have $75 in their account.
This results in a negative balance, and also comes with an overdraft fee. An overdraft fee is right around $35. These fees can be avoided by signing up for account alerts that notify you whenever your balance drops to a certain point. You can also opt out of premium overdraft services.
Foreign Transaction Fees
When going overseas, you could be at risk of paying foreign transaction fees. These fees are billed to credit card customers when transactions are wired through non-US retail stores. Most foreign transaction fees are right around 3%; this means that if you spend $100 overseas, you’ll also spend an additional $3 for purchasing goods outside the US. Luckily, there are plenty of banks that don’t charge foreign transaction fees.
Believe it or not, banks could be charging you an extra buck ($1) for snail mailed paper bank statements. So not only will banks sometimes charge you for simply owning an account through them, but they’ll also charge you for the paper used to inform you about your account!! You can easily avoid these fees by simply signing up for electronic bank statements that are emailed to you monthly. This is also an environmentally friendly solution.
Debit Card Replacement Fees
If you lose or damage your debit card, there’s a chance you’ll get charged a fee for a new one. That’s right–banks are even looking to cash in on your misfortune. Banks will even charge extra to “rush” the process. Some banks have debit card printers right on site that don’t charge you anything for a replacement, though. It’s important to be in the know about how much banks charge for a debit card replacement.
Banking fees don’t have to be part of life, death, and taxes. The proper research can lead you down a path of bank fee freedom. While some banks simply aren’t available in some areas, there are many ways to sign up for banks online. In the end, though, it’s all up to you. Hopefully you end up choosing a bank that fits your own personal lifestyle.