There are fees and charges you might have to pay for with your bank if you need a certain service or fail to meet a requirement. For instance, some types of checking accounts may charge you a service fee if you don't keep your balance above a certain amount.
On the other side are banking services you shouldn't be paying for. So, if you find that you are forking over money for, it's time to have a conversation with your bank or look for an alternative. Here are eight services you should make sure that you aren't being charged for.
Your Checking Account
While free checking has been fading over the years, there are still over a third of banks and the vast majority of credit unions that offer it. Even if a bank doesn't offer free checking, there are still other ways to avoid monthly maintenance fees.
Some banks may require you to keep a certain minimum amount in your account, open/link a savings account, or sign up a certain amount of autopay transactions per month. Look over these checking options and determine if you would be able to meet those requirements.
If it doesn't seem feasible, then look into switching to another bank or credit union. You still have options out there if you can't find it with your existing bank.
Overdraft fees can cost you anywhere between $10 and $35 in most cases. These fees occur when you spend more than you have on your account. They can be triggered through writing a check, using your debit card to make a purchase, using the ATM, or making an electronic transaction such as making a bill payment online. These fees can add up quickly with just a few mistakes.
Talk to your bank to see If they can decline transactions when you don't have enough funds to cover them. Some banks won't charge you an overdraft fee on certain transactions such as debit card or ATM withdrawals.
Online Bill Pay
Mailing in a check to pay your bills is really a thing of the past. With online bill pay, you can make those transactions from anywhere without paying for postage. It's also much easier to organize your finances and stay on budget.
There are some banks that charge a fee to use online bill payment services on certain types of accounts. Make sure you talk to your bank to find out if there are any fees associated with your account when you use online bill payment. If there are fees, determine if this is service you will use or consider changing the type of account you have into one that doesn't incur these fees.
Credit Monitoring Services
You can receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three big credit reporting agencies every year. Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax will receive your request via annualcreditreport.com. You can request a copy from one agency every four months to get a more frequent review of your credit report.
It is now common for credit card issuers to provide customers with their FICO credit score for free. In most cases, this is available on a monthly basis and available through your printed statement or online account. With the available free options, you should not be paying your bank for any of these monitoring services.
Money Exchange Fees
If you are planning a trip internationally, you will probably want to keep some cash with you just in case. Currency exchange kiosks will charge you additional fees/commissions, and the exchange rate will not be in your favor.
Review your banking services for your international travel so know what other options you have. Many banks have checking accounts that have a worldwide ATM fee reimbursement. You will also want to make sure you let your bank know about your travel plans so they don't freeze your account.
You might also be able to go into your bank before your trip and exchange cash. Larger banks might even allow you to order the cash over the phone or online for pickup. There might be a fee associated with this, so make sure you ask to see if they can waive it.
While it might be appealing to get custom checks, they really don't do anything for you other than burn your money. Nowadays, we write few checks since there are so many other options like a debit card or e-payments. Your bank may offer you free basic checks that will work for your needs just fine.
With most banks you can see the font and back of a check you have written in your transaction history. Make sure when you use a check that your bank is not charging you an extra fee for that service.
Car Rental Insurance
If you've ever rented a car, you've probably been offered rental insurance and thought that it was expensive. Paying for insurance through a rental company is not a good deal for you. The insurance they offer is not actually insurance.
Your own car insurance should have at the very minimum, liability coverage. If the car is being driven for personal use, your individual car insurance policy will in most cases cover a rental.
Your credit card may also offer rental coverage to supplement your own. In order for this benefit to kick in, you have to pay for the rental with the card and decline the rental insurance.
Credit Card Warranty
You might be offered a credit card warranty insurance if you've been a longtime cardholder or are signing up for a new card. There are many perks and hidden bonuses with having a credit card, however, this is usually not one of them. Credit card warranties only cover certain types of purchases you make with the credit card.
It's an up-sell to the bank, so you will need to review the terms and conditions to see if this is really something you need. When you make a big purchase like a flat screen tv, the warranty coverage the product comes with is usually more than adequate.
There are so many banking services that really make your life easier by giving you tools to keep more organized. This helps you save time and money at the end of the day, but you also need to make sure you aren't paying for services you can get for free.
With so many alternatives out there, you should be able to find the service you need at little or no cost to you. Save yourself from these unnecessary fees, and you will find yourself with more money at the end of the month that can go towards your financial goals.