With banking, there always seems to be another fee. And bank fees are the rise again. But there are ways to help you avoid some bank fees.
Avoid the ATM
ATM fees are on the rise. And if you are stuck and use an ATM not owned by your bank, you could pay double fees–fees from your bank and fees from the ATM’s bank. Look for a bank account that allows you to use the ATM without penalty (although this won’t protect you from other banks’ ATM fees). Or, better yet, be home free on ATM fees. Rather than getting cash at the ATM, use your debit card and ask for cash back. No fees for this trick, and the money comes out of your checking account, just as if you withdrew it at an ATM.
See if your bank offers account linking. This is a way of making sure that your savings account is linked to your checking account. If you overdraw on your checking account, account linking makes it possible to simply shift the money automatically from savings. This saves you from an overdraft charge, and from other fees. It also costs less than most banks’ overdraft protection. Linking can also save you from service fees that can result if you have a minimum balance. Most banks with account linking count the total that you have in the linked accounts, so as long as your savings is up there, you don’t have to maintain your minimum in the checking account.
Look for no-fee bank accounts
Even as bank fees rise, there are some institutions that do not charge fees. Find out what the service charges are, and look for banks that do not charge for check writing and other services. If you can, avoid bank accounts that require a minimum balance. And read the fine print when you apply for a card through your bank, or for overdraft protection. Looking into joining a credit union may also help you avoid bank fees.