money-closeupAre you tired of paying fees for everything you do at the bank? Stop paying those fees. How, you ask? Are the fees completely avoidable? Well no, but here are some tips to help you pay as little as possible when using banking services. Sometimes you can save literally tens to hundreds of dollars each month with a little knowledge and a little shopping around.

First, let’s understand how bank fees work. Banks and Credit Unions need to make a profit, or they can’t stay in business. Although Banks and Credit Unions are very different in the amount of profit they need to make. See our section our Banks and Credit Unions for more information. In any case, they make money in a variety of ways. They earn interest off the money you keep with them. They earn interest on the money you borrow from them. The earn interchange fees when you use their credit cards. And they earn money from fees they charge for use of their products and services.

It seems like banks charge fees for just about everything. Use another bank’s atm machine and you pay a fee. Your account balance falls to low, you pay a fee. You have insufficient funds, you pay a fee. A check you deposit is returned, you pay a fee. You use your bank’s investment services, you pay a fee. You call too many times or use a teller too many times, and you pay a fee. You get check copies, you pay a fee. You ask for an old bank statement, you pay a fee. After a while, you wonder how you keep any money in your bank accounts at all.

Good Relationships
Banks are willing to waive many fees just if you keep a good balance. That’s why many banks require you to have a certain balance in your checking accounts, your savings accounts or, your CD accounts. They don’t need to charge fees if they can earn enough interest off the money you have in your accounts.
Banks are also interested in the number of accounts you have with them. If you have a savings account, a checking account, a credit card and a car loan, the bank will waive many fees, because you have a good relationship with them.

Protect Yourself
Many people cause themselves to pay fees they could easily avoid with a simple overdraft protection account. Tired of Over the Limit fees, Overdraft fees, Insufficient Funds fees? Set up an account to cover you when you happen to dip below zero on your checking account. You can use your savings account as your overdraft protection account. Of course, that means you have to have funds available in your savings account. You could also set up a line of credit that you only access when needed. A line of credit overdraft protection account is like a credit card. You don’t pay anything if you don’t need it. Banks will charge a fee to access this account and automatically move money to your checking account to cover you, however that fee is much lower than the fee for insufficient funds. You would also owe interest on the money borrowed. Credit Unions may not charge you anything except the interest you would owe on the money you borrowed.

Just Ask
Sometimes you are charged a fee for the first time, and you weren’t even aware that there was a fee for that kind of thing. Most banks will waive the fee the first time this happens. Don’t abuse it, however, or you will find yourself paying those fees, no matter how nicely you ask. You can always threaten to take your money to another bank, but if you don’t really have any money with them, they won’t shed many tears.