It happens to us all, we all have a bank account and time to time get charged for things we don’t even recognize at the end of the month. Most of us would blame the bank for over charging and being greedy. However, that’s not always the case, the better way is to really look into these charges and question the reason behind it.
There are many types of bank charges such as non sufficient funds (NSF), stop payment, transaction fees, overdraft fees, ATM fees etc. We’ve had experience with at least one of these at some point or another. There are ways to avoid these bank charges, which will help you save more money and budget wisely.
Know your bank account plan. Banks often offer different plans for your account. Similar to a cellphone plan, a bank account plan includes a number of transactions, withdrawals, deposits etc. Going over your specific number of transactions per month will trigger extra bank fees. Be cautious of how often you use your debit card for purchases and ATM withdrawals!
Read the fine print. When signing up for a new bank account plan or opening a new bank account always read the fine print or ask a bank representative about the extra bank charges that apply to that specific bank plan. For example, how much does it cost to withdraw from an ATM? How much will it cost if my cheque bounces? What are the charges on additional transactions used during the month outside of my limit? Have these charges written down somewhere, or get a pamphlet with all the information to keep handy.
Keep track of your account. In this day and age communication and access to information has never been easier. Most banks offer online banking and a smart phone mobile app for download to help you monitor your account from anywhere. Check your transactions on a daily or weekly basis to ensure you’re not going over the limit and not getting charges with extra bank fees.
Ask which bank account best fits your spending habits. If you’re an avid user of your debit card perhaps the “unlimited transactions plan” is best for you. Some people barely use their debit card and others use it daily. Depending on what your spending habits are, make sure you have the plan that is best suited for your needs. This way you’ll avoid any extra charges and not ave to worry about counting your transactions on a regular basis.
Avoid NSF charges. NSF charges stand for Non Sufficient Funds. This charge occurs when you have a cheque or payment coming out of your account but there isn’t enough money to process it. The bank often charges a fee of $30- $45 for each NSF. These charges are very costly and frustrating to deal with. Always make sure you have enough money on the account for the payment to go through.
Separate your savings account and checking account! It’s way easier to save when you have a dedicated account where you deposit all your savings. A checking account should be for day to day spendings and monthly bills.