Whether you are brand new to banking or you’ve had the same bank account for several decades, it’s never too early or too late to change up your banking strategy. Earning money is hard enough, and banking shouldn’t make it harder still to hold on to your dollars. Taking small steps and implementing these key tips can help you save money and avoid surprise surcharges and banking fees.
Make sure your accounts stay active.
It is not uncommon for banks to close your account if it goes untouched for a prolonged period of time. Banks may instead opt to charge you a fee for your dormant account.
Stay informed about banks besides your own.
Just because your bank offered great benefits when you opened your account doesn’t mean they are still the best in the game. Compare what other banks are offering to ensure you get the lowest fees and best APY for your savings.
Be proactive about closing accounts.
If you no longer wish to have a particular account, don’t just abandon it. Let your bank know so they can close the account and you can avoid paying low balance or dormant account fees.
Read the fine print before closing an account.
Some banks charge fees for closing an account too soon after opening it. Before closing your account, make sure to read the terms and conditions to ensure you aren’t hit with an additional charge.
Don't close an unused credit card.
Even if it lies untouched in a drawer, keeping your credit card account open will only serve to improve your credit score. Your credit score is based on a number of factors, one of which is the length of time your accounts have remained open.
Inform your bank when you are traveling.
Let your bank know when you’ll be out of the state or country so that your transactions aren’t flagged or declined. Banks often stop transactions from going through if they have any reason to suspect they could be fraudulent.
Use your bank's ATM to save on fees.
Most bank accounts allow free cash withdrawals from the bank’s own ATMs, but charge a fee to use any other ATM. Using your bank’s ATMs exclusively can save you quite a bit of money in fees over time.
Take advantage of direct deposit.
If your employer offers direct deposit, take them up on it. Direct deposit allows you to get your paycheck faster and it is much more reliable than sending a paper check in the mail.
Pay off your credit cards in full each month.
Whenever possible, pay the entirety of your credit card bill each month to avoid being charged interest. Over time, interest really adds up, and that’s money you could be saving or spending on something else.
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