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Checking account charges
Checking Account Charges:
Look Before You Leap

A lot of us change bank accounts at one time or another, and for a number of different reasons. But how many of us actually read the small print on our checking account terms and conditions—and how many of us know about the checking account charges and checking account fees we could be penalized with if we fall foul of those terms and conditions?

A controversial area

Checking account charges
can be rather on the large side—even for minor discretions such as going a mere few pennies overdrawn—and they are currently being investigated, so there may be a change in the way charges are structured in the future.

But for now it’s up to you to make sure you understand the checking account charges put in place by your own bank. Here are four tips to put you back in control of your bank account.  

  1. Read the small print. It might be tiny and uninviting, but that’s how the banks make their money. They know that very few people will bother to read the terms and conditions relating to the checking account fees attached to their account—but that doesn’t stop them charging them when you fall foul of the rules.

    If you are about to change accounts, make sure you read everything you can get your hands on regarding checking account charges first. If you’re not thinking of changing accounts, then read up on the charges your existing bank operates. Not knowing what’s going on is a sure way to set you up for a shock in the future.

  2. Consider arranging a free overdraft. Some banks offer fee free overdrafts that enable you to go overdrawn up to your agreed limit without incurring a flat fee. You will still pay interest in most cases, but you’ll be saved the horror of paying a $35 checking account charge when you go as little as a dollar or two overdrawn.

    An overdraft is always a good idea, even if you don’t have a habit of going overdrawn. It provides that little extra peace of mind.

  3. Watch out for administration charges. These aren’t as much of a problem as overdraft charges, but you should still be aware of them. Checking account fees for such notable requests as asking for a duplicate statement do still exist.

    Admin charges shouldn’t be the deciding factor when it comes to changing banks, but bear them in mind – especially if you are likely to use them.

  4. Vote with your feet if you don’t like what you see. The simplest rule of all—and even though moving banks can be a hassle—it’s worth doing if your checking bank is trigger happy with checking account charges and doesn’t provide you with the level of service you want.

Fortunately, more people move checking accounts now than ever before. It’s in the best interests of the banks to compete for customers by offering great deals and good checking accounts that are worth having.

But always pay attention to the small print. Every bank has checking account charges and checking account fees of some kind, and they won’t display those when they are touting for your business. That’s why the small print really is your friend, and reading it right through could save you a lot of money.

Visit our list of checking accounts

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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