When was the last time you read your bank statement? Checked the amount you’re paying in bank fees? Have a look and see if there are any charges on there you didn’t know you were paying. Some banks are altogether too good at hidden fees and sneaky charges. Others have fee-free transaction accounts on offer – a BOQ bank account like day2day is just one such example. Take care though; even fee-free doesn’t always mean it’s the best transaction account for you. Banks assume no one checks their statements; prove them wrong. Here are some tips to avoid being stung by hidden fees
Look for a transaction account that offers online access and no fees. Try to find one without a minimum balance requirement, or else with a balance requirement you’re confident you can meet each month. Also ensure you read the agreement for fee-free accounts – some products charge no account keeping fees, but sting you in other ways, such as by limiting your free transactions so you end up paying quite a bit in fees anyway.
These can add up to quite a bit. Every transaction you make on an in-the-red account balance incurs a fee, often over $35. The best way to avoid this type of sting is – you guessed it – don’t spend money you don’t have. You’re better off using your credit card for those times when your account balance is dry – and paying that bill off to zero when it comes in. With some planning and a little financial savvy, you can avoid both the overdraft fees and any credit card headaches.
Sometimes you get hit twice for using an ATM from another bank. The other bank will likely charge you for using their ATM. Your own bank can also whack on a fee for not using their ATM! Avoid using any other bank’s ATMs, or else try to find the ones with which your lender has a reciprocal arrangement. ATM fees usually come to between $1.50 and $2.50 per transaction, and can cost you around $20 per month all up. Over a year these costs can really add up.
Late Payment Fees
Some credit cards advertising low interest rates for 6 months or so revert to their original interest charges if you pay your bill just one day late during the low interest period. Ensure you make yourself aware of how your card works by reading the fine print, and avoid any late payments altogether. You can also shop around for a credit card that has a better deal; one where the introductory low rate doesn’t change if you pay the bill late.
It pays to stay on top of your bank’s fees and charges. Around 80% of bank statements contain errors in the lender’s favour and many people never take the time to check their paperwork properly. The banks probably count on this, but it is really money flowing out of your pocket for no good reason. Make the time to check your statements thoroughly, and ensure your bank isn’t taking more from you than it should.
Have you ever been hit with sneaky bank charges? Share your story in the comments box below.