ABA highlights 8 tips to save on bank costs
WASHINGTON — The majority of Americans—61 percent—pay nothing at all for bank services such as checking account maintenance and ATM access, according to a recent survey by the American Bankers Association. Most bank customers (72 percent) spend $3 or less in monthly fees—less than the cost of a gallon of milk.
When asked “How much do you estimate you spend on fees for banking services each month, such as fees for checking account maintenance, ATM use and so forth?”, consumers provided the following responses:
- Nothing – 61 percent (62 percent in 2014)
- $3 or less – 11 percent (12 percent in 2014)
- $4 to $6 – 6 percent (7 percent in 2014)
- $7 to $9 – 4 percent (3 percent in 2014)
- $10 or more – 10 percent (7 percent in 2014)
- Unsure – 8 percent (9 percent in 2014)
- Utilize free checking and savings accounts. Many banks still offer them, especially if you maintain a minimum balance. Shop your own bank first.
- Utilize direct deposit. Many checking accounts are free when you use direct deposit.
- Keep a minimum balance. Consider keeping a small amount to pad your account. This helps to avoid monthly fees and accidental overdrafts.
- Take advantage of college partnerships with banks. College students may find special checking account deals at banks with whom their college has a partnership.
- Keep multiple accounts at your bank. Many banks are looking at the entire customer relationship and may offer free services if you maintain both checking and savings accounts with them, for example.
- Use your bank’s ATMs and reduce the use of foreign ATMs. Avoid fees by using ATMs owned by or affiliated with your bank. If you must use an ATM not affiliated with your bank, take out larger withdrawals to avoid having to go back multiple times. Consider the cash-back option at the grocery store.
- Don’t spend more money than you have. Keep track of transactions and account balances to avoid overdraft fees, which is easier and easier to do with features such as mobile banking apps.
- Sign up for email or text alerts. Ask for an automatic alert when your balance falls below a certain level.