How to Save Money on Your Banking Fees

By Ryan P. Zacharczyk, CFP®, MBA CRPC

Banking fees can be one of the more frustrating aspects of managing your finances. Although the fees you pay to your bank may never go away entirely, a little knowledge and some proper planning can help you to reduce your fees dramatically.

  • Get informed: Have a talk with your banker about the fees you are currently being charged on the accounts you already have. Make sure you understand exactly what you are charged and when. Ask your banker if he can remove any or all of the fees from your accounts or set you up in accounts that have little or no fees. Depending on how much money you have with the bank and what your fees are, your banker may be very accommodating.

  • Avoid ATM fees: Most banks have fees for using ATM’s that do not belong to their banks. In addition, the ATM itself may charge you a convenience fee. You could be paying as much as five or six dollars to access your money. A better option is to plan ahead. When possible try to decide how much cash you will need and access your cash via your own banks ATM. Most banks will not charge you to use their own machine.

  • Combine accounts: Many banks will waive fees if combined accounts are more than the minimum. Meaning, if the minimum balance for free checking is $1,000, banks may be willing to include the savings accounts or CDs that you have with their bank as a part of that minimum. Discuss these options with your banker to get more details.

  • Track your transaction: Overdraft fees or bounced check penalties are among the larger fees that banks charge. Track each transaction to make sure you do not fall victim to these heavy fees. Detail is the key. Reconcile your checking account at least once a month.

  • Direct deposit your paycheck: Many banks that charge fees on checking accounts will waive those charges if you set up an automated direct deposit of your paycheck. Direct deposit may vary by bank, so check with your banker for details.