You need to have various types of financial accounts in order to make sure you’re getting the most out of your money, and positioning yourself optimally for the future. For example, you’ll want to have an IRA to provide you with the ability to take charge of your retirement saving plans. And you’ll need a checking account (and probably a savings account) in order to manage the flow of money both in and out of your various accounts.
Unfortunately, truly free bank accounts are relatively hard to come by, so it’s important to manage the applicable fees carefully. Here are some tips for how to reduce, or perhaps even eliminate, the fees you pay for your banking services.
Do Your Research. The first step is to research the various account types and options you have available at your current bank. Make sure you know what your current checking account fees are — they may have changed since you first opened your account. Your bank probably offers a number of different account types, and your current needs may not be a good match for the type of account you now have, at least in terms of applicable fees. Conduct the same level of research.
Go Online. As part of your comparison shopping, be sure to include online banks in your research. Since online-only banks don’t have to pay the costs associated with maintaining a physical location, retaining a staff of bank tellers, and related expenses, you may be able to find accounts with the features you need, but at a lower price than your local bank.
Understand Your Needs. Long gone are the days where banks would offer one or perhaps two savings account or checking account options. Now you’re certain to have a number of different options, and each of those will provide you a different mix of features. In order to make the right choice, give some thought to what’s really important to you. How often do you use bank tellers? How often do you use ATMs or automated bill pay? Do you need a safe deposit box?
Be Willing to Change Banks. Don’t let your own inertia keep you from getting the best terms and fees on your banking conditions. It can certainly be a bit inconvenient to take your business to a new bank or credit union. But if doing so would help you save five or ten dollars a month (or more) in fees, or earn a bit more each month in interest, or make you eligible for other valuable services the bank offers, then it’s worth the effort to change banks.
Consolidate Your Accounts. If you’re like many, then you may have a number of different accounts at different banks because you haven’t been diligent about closing old accounts. You may be paying fees on some or all of those accounts, so by consolidating your business you may be able to reduce the fees you pay.
As with any other financial service you use, the best way to avoid paying too much for your bank accounts is to keep yourself well informed.
Tags: Banking Advice, banking fees, checking account