Tips for checking account customers
• Find out how you can avoid monthly fees: Check with your bank to find out whether you can take steps to avoid monthly fees. Some banks will eliminate monthly fees if you use direct deposit for your paycheck or if you maintain a minimum balance or use your debit card a certain number of times each month. Watch your paper or online statements since rules about monthly fees can change.
• Don’t use non-network ATMs: Every time you use an ATM that is not part of your bank’s network, you get charged by the operator of the ATM and by your bank. That can mean a $5 charge just for withdrawing money from your account! Avoid excessive ATM charges by sticking to your own bank’s network of ATMs.
• Don’t sign up for high-cost overdraft loans: You can avoid $35 overdraft fees by not signing up for debit overdraft coverage or by choosing a cheaper alternative such as linking your checking account to your savings account. You’ll still get charged if you overdraft your account, but the fee will be much lower.
• Be on the lookout for new fees charged by your bank: Banks are beginning to introduce new fees that could increase your monthly costs. Be sure to review your statement carefully each month to find out if you’re getting charged new fees and find out if you can avoid them.
• Consider another bank or credit union: If you’re not happy with the fees charged by your bank, consider moving your account to a cheaper bank or credit union. See Consumers Union’s tips for moving your account safely.