How to Avoid ATM & Account Fees
5 clever ways around expensive banking and ATM fees
ATMs have gotten expensive. According to Bankrate, The average “out-of-network” ATM fee in the United States is now $4.57. This leaves tight-budget customers in a catch 22.
Many small and local businesses require a $5 minimum purchase (convenient stores, local restaurants, etc.) to use a credit card. But if you don’t have $5 on hand, you might have to pay that much just to pull out the $5 you need. In other words, a low-budget lunch becomes impossible. A meal under $5 ends up costing nearly double if you’re not lucky enough to be near your bank when your stomach starts growling.
And ATMs aren’t the only way people rack up bank fees. Most banks charge transaction or withdrawal fees depending on the account type. To help you avoid unnecessary fees, we’ve made a helpful checklist.
Don’t Drop Below the Balance
You should always stay cognizant of your account balance and aware of your bank’s minimums. Some of the world’s wealthiest movie and sports stars have been forced to file for bankruptcy after outspending what they earned. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst and you will save yourself trouble down the road.
Modern online banking apps have made it easy to stay on top of your finances. For instance, our online banking app lets account holders set alerts for any account balance. If a user sets an alert for $200, they will get a text anytime their account balance falls below that amount.
No-Fee ATM Accounts
Thanks to growing ATM networks, many community banks and credit unions can now compete with the bigger banks on this front. Some banks even waive ATM fees altogether. Rather than build or join an ATM network, we pay customer ATM fees for them—any ATM, anywhere in the world.
Meet Monthly Requirements
Some accounts are more complicated than others. As a general rule, more benefits mean more requirements. With great power comes great responsibility.
Always read through the daily, monthly, and annual requirements to make sure they are in line with your projected activity. Is there a minimum transaction requirement? Monthly fee? Can you earn more rewards by fulfilling easy reoccurring requirements?
Your bank statements will help give you a good idea of your average spending and general behavior. While you may think a new account will motivate you to change your behavior, that’s easier said than done. If you don’t think you’ll be able to regularly keep up with the requirements, it’s best to avoid the excess fees by going with a simple, low penalty account, such as a Free Checking or standard Savings Account.
Automatically Transfer Money to Your Savings Account
Some banks will waive monthly service charges if you agree to transfer a certain amount from your checking to savings each month. There are usually different ways you can set up these automatic transfers, including daily dollar transfers, small transfers for every transaction, or a set monthly transfer.
Businesses: Consider Accounts Offering Earnings Credit
Earnings credit refers to interest a bank pays on customer deposits. An Earnings Credit Rate (ECR) is offered by many commercial bank accounts and used to offset “compensable” service fees.
We currently offer an earnings credit rate of 0.50% on our Commercial Checking account. That rate is subject to change with the market; fees are based on Account Analysis. See account details and Schedule of Fees for more information.