11 Common Bank Fees and How to Avoid Them

  1. Monthly Account Fees

      • Can you believe that some banks charge you a fee every month just to have an account? These money siphoners normally provide a few options to avoid the bank fee – maintain two direct deposits each month, make X number of debit card purchases each month, etc. – but who wants to jump through a bunch of hoops just to hold onto your hard-earned cash? The best way to avoid a monthly account fee is to choose a bank with no fees to begin with.
  2. Non-network ATM: Part 1

      • “This ATM charges a service fee of $4.95 – do you accept?” That’s a question that nobody wants to swipe right on. But when you’re in a rush and your bank’s ATM is nowhere to be found, you do what you have to do. After all, you’re paying for the service that the ATM is providing. It hurts, but it makes sense.
  3. Non-network ATM: Part 2

      • Until the next day when you see that your bank charged you an additional $2.95 for having the audacity to use somebody else’s ATM, that is. What gives? The obvious way to avoid the Non-Network ATM fee is to only use In-Network ATMs. But wouldn’t it be better if you had a national network of 25,000+ fee-free ATMs? Not to brag, but that’s more than Chase (16,000+), Bank of America (16,038), and Wells Fargo (12,800). That’s not even counting the 30,000 fee-free cash back locations nationwide. #JustSayin
  4. Direct/Bill Pay

      • You want to pay a friend, your rent, your electric bill, but because you’re not your grandmother, you don’t have a paper check. That’s ok, you think, my bank should be able to send the money for me! What you didn’t think is that they’d hit you with a $10/month fee to use the feature. Thankfully, there are a few ways to avoid this fee: 1) stock up on paper checks, envelopes and stamps, and set calendar reminders for when you need to get those puppies shipped off – allowing up to 5 days for US Postal delivery. And don’t forget to do the math on your available balance until you see that the check has cleared your account. OR you could 2) pick a bank with no direct/bill pay fees. Your call.
  5. Overdraft Fees

      1. One of the most painful fees of all – the Overdraft. You miscalculate what you’ve got in your account and you go $5 over your limit. Your banks response? BOOM! $35 fee. Now you’re $40 negative when you didn’t realize you were going to empty your account in the first place. This common fee can be avoided by a few simple strategies, including making sure you have enough money in your account at all times (duh), signing up for your bank’s overdraft protection – which typically requires a credit card with the bank AND still costs money, or choosing an account that will stop the transaction before you overspend.
  6. Minimum Balance

      • This fee gets passed out when you don’t have as much money in your account as your bank thinks you should. It’s your money – you should be able to keep it where you want and use it how you like, not worry over whether that $20 lunch will cost you another $10 from your bank. Avoid this fee by adhering to draconian rules dictating what your balance should be, or select an account and a bank that believes in your ability as a person to manage your money as you see fit.
  7. Paper Statements

      • Many banks still pass along the cost of the statements you don’t really want cluttering up your mailbox to you. This one’s easy – sign up for paperless statements and communications. It’s better for the environment AND better for your wallet.
  8. Human Teller Fee

      • Fun fact: if you use the services of a human teller at your local bank branch, you could see a fee on your next monthly statement. Turns out the hundreds of billions of dollars of profit* banks enjoyed in 2016, they still need to pass the cost of their branches down to you. Easy fixes: avoid in-person branches, or ditch branches altogether and create an account with an online-only bank.
  9. Lost Card

      • While shuffling your keys, wallet, cell phone and that delicious taco from the food truck down the street, you somehow managed to misplace your debit card. It’s a bummer, but it happens. You phone up your bank for a new one, and BOOM – you’re out $5 and your debit card for the next week. The benefit of a bank with no unnecessary fees is pretty obvious: you get to put that $5 toward your next taco, instead of a piece of plastic in your wallet.
  10. Inactivity

      • You work hard, you come home, you take a rest. You’ve earned it! Sometimes you just want to kick back, veg out and not do anything. Your money deserves that same level of relaxation. But many banks don’t share this point of view, and will start charging you for not using your account frequently enough for their liking. If you want to avoid this fee, you have to keep a steady stream of making it rain flowing at all times – or, you know, pick an account that has no unnecessary inactivity fee.
  11. Account Closing

      • It’s the ultimate insult. You’ve had it up to here with your bank nickel and diming your nickel and dimes. You do you research and discover a new bank – one without wasteful and excessive fees – and you close out your account. Only to find one last little ding in the form of an account closing fee. They should be ashamed of themselves.