Banks represent part of the unholy trinity at work in America charged with soaking up every excess dollar you get from each paycheck along with insurance companies and utilities. Between the three of these demons in three piece suits, you can expect to lose roughly a third of the money you could be stuffing inside your mattress. Take a bite out of the banking industry by learning how to play the inside game that banks play to arrive at the
quite ridiculous outcome of charging you for the privilege of your choosing them to safeguard your money.
Death By ATM
Stick a knife into the carotid artery of the banking industry by refusing to deal with an ATM unless you know for sure you aren’t charged. Two reasons exist for not dealing with an ATM offered by your local branch. One, you may be charged for the convenience of dealing with an ATM. Two, by dealing with a machine, you forego the potentially helpful task of establishing a relationship with tellers. As any CEO in the country can tell you, the better you know the people inside a bank who are in charged with handling your money, the better your chances of getting a loan when you need it or negotiating a lower interest rate when you threaten to stop your weekly appearances by moving your cash wad to a competitor’s bank. Needless to say, when it comes to an ATM not associated directly with your bank, you should refrain from the temptation for quick access to cash. The charges for using a second party ATM are usually quite ridiculous and should always be avoided.
The bigger the bank, the less your chances of satisfaction when something goes wrong or you are looking for help. A big bank simply doesn’t need your business enough to waste time trying to figure out how they messed up and made you pay for their mistake. It’s much easier to ignore you and lose you than if they were a smaller bank. If you are counting on flexibility and the ability to make contact with human beings who actually work inside the bank that made a mistake, then avoid the banking behemoths and stick with a regional bank.
When you open up a checking account, be sure to ask specific questions and get specific answers in regard to overdraft charges. Inquire about things like overdraft charging fee amounts, electronic monitoring of your checking account and notification from the bank if your account does become overdrawn and whether the bank offers the option of allowing you to deposit money to avoid bouncing a check. If the bank does offer the latter option, be sure to ask about deadlines. You may be required to make the deposit before 2:00 PM rather than just before the bank closes for the day.
Minimum Balance Requirement
If your bank requires a minimum balance to keep a savings account without being charged a monthly fee, inquire about the possibility of having that requirement waived when you know you will be withdrawing from your savings account. If the bank refuses to waive the requirement, head down there and pluck your money out and close the account. Take it another bank or, better yet, a credit union which will likely offer both a higher interest rate and be more flexible on the issue of a minimum balance requirement.
Read and Reject Unnecessary Options
When you open a bank account, you will likely be offered a number of different options or offers. This option could be anything from a second ATM card to overdraft protection to insurance. Read over the forms provided with these “offers” very carefully and don’t be shy about inquiring about any kind of charge for these options. These charges can add up quickly and in most cases you don’t really need them at all. As a general rule, avoid purchasing insurance through a bank unless you enjoy paying a finance charge on top of your premiums.