Lending Club Blog

The Top 7 Most Aggravating Bank Fees and How to Crush Them

Banks now get an average of 27% of their revenue from fees. That’s a lot of cash out of your pocket! In fact, a typical account fee of just $6 could buy you at least a 6-pack of crush. Mmm… orange goodness.

The good news is that even these 7 most aggravating fees can be Crushed.

What exactly is “Crushing a fee”? You see, Crush in a bottle is quite a sweet refreshing drink. This is exactly how you should first approach reversing any bank fee. But if sweet doesn’t work, you’ll need to knock some heads around, and thus the glass bottle comes in handy. This is just an analogy of course, but you get the point. Let’s move on to the 7 fees and how to “Crush” them…

7. The Teller Fee

Not as common as it used to be, some banks will still charge you to discuss certain transactions with a teller. It’s like a bad 900 number…

Solution: Don’t give your business to a bank that charges you to talk to a teller. There are plenty of options include credit unions that won’t ever charge you to talk to your banker.

6. The ATM Fee

ATM fees can get you on two ends if you use an ATM that is outside your bank’s network. The ATM itself can charge you anywhere from $2 to $5 just to make a withdrawal. On top of that most banks will charge you around $2.50 for making withdrawals from an out of network ATM.

Solution: Get cash from your bank’s ATM. Plan ahead when you need cash, or try a bank that gives you a few free out of network ATM withdrawals a month (credit unions are great for this). Also, consider choosing a bank that has a branch or many ATM’s near where you live and/or work.

5. The Account Balance Fee

Some accounts have minimum balances that need to be kept. If you fall below those balances, bam! Fee. The fee often outweighs any benefits you might receive from that type of account (minimal interest bearing, for example).

Solution: Get a minimal amount of cash in a free checking account. Stash the rest in a high-yield savings account that you can electronically transfer in and out quickly.

4. The Over Limit Fee

This applies to most bank credit cards or lines of credit. When you charge more on your credit card or line of credit than your available credit, you’re gonna get hit with this fee.

Solution: Call your bank and ask them to decline any charges over your account limit. Or even better, watch your balances and make sure you always stay below your limit.

3. The “Paper Anything” Fee

Want paper statements? Fee. Want paper copies of checks? Fee. Pretty much anything not delivered electronically these days will get you dinged with a fee.

Solution: Embrace technology, dude. If you really need a paper statement, you can always request one from your bank (for a fee of course). Otherwise, stick to e-delivery, avoid the fees and make Captain Planet proud.

2. The Dormant Account Fee

Not using that account much? That’s gonna cost you as well. When no activity is recorded for a certain amount of time (12 months is standard), many banks will charge you a fee for not doing anything. Yes, it’s crazy.

Solution: Close the account if you’re truly not using it much. Plus, the fewer accounts you have to keep track of, the simpler tracking your finances can be.

1. The Overdraft Fee

Easily the most common, and frustrating fee for consumers, the overdraft fee can be defeated. With many banks in the UK approaching $57 overdraft fees, learning how to avoid and combat overdraft fees is a must for any frugal American.

Solutions:

  1. Most banks will waive your first overdraft fee with them, but you have to give them a call or go into your branch to request this.
  2. If you get hit with multiple overdraft fees in excess of $100, you likely won’t get them all removed, but a call can usually get them cut in half. Ask the customer service rep to get approval from a manager right off the bat for this type of request.
  3. Setup a small no-fee savings account to act as an overdraft protection account. If you do overdraft, you’ll still get hit with a fee, but it will be in the $10 range vs. a typical $30-something overdraft fee.
  4. Avoid using your debit card, pay with cash or credit.

Do you have any fees that frustrate you? How did you Crush them?

Photo by darwinbell.

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Comments (3)

  1. For the overdraft fees, I have $1000 in a linked savings account,
    and my bank doesn’t charge for overdraft protection. This came in
    handy a few months ago when an ACH payment I made went through
    twice accidentally, and totally depleted my checking account.

    June 25th, 2008 at 10:47 pm

  2. CarlB:

    Simple strategies: direct deposit Many banks will provide
    better terms like lower or zero balance requirements if you have a
    paycheck which is directly deposited. bill pay This is a
    big winner. Save on stamps. Save the forests. Set an autopayment of
    $20 or so to your credit card accounts and never face a late fee
    again. Credit Unions Compared to banks, credit unions are
    often friendlier, with all the amenities which banks have to offer.
    ATM access is problematic, but a little planning goes a long way
    and the Coop network now extends to 25000 ATMs in 7-11s, largely
    eliminating the ATM access problem.

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:58 pm

  3. awesome tips and I love that you ask for reader participation!

    June 27th, 2008 at 11:16 am

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