Is your bank ripping you off? Look at your last bank statement to discover the answer. How much hard earned money went towards various banking fees and surcharges? Ask your bank these questions to find out if there’s a better deal to be had.
*Is the bank FDIC insured? If the bank is not FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insured, your money and investments are not insured and you could lose everything in the event of bank failure.
*How can I qualify for free checking? Most every bank offers free checking accounts, but often do not inform customers (or potential customers) on how to obtain this free service. Checking accounts and checks can be obtained free at many banks if certain qualifications are met, such as minimum balance or age.
*Is there a per-check charge for writing checks? In addition to free checking accounts and free checks, some banks do not charge a per-check charge, or at least offer free check writing for up to a certain number of checks written per month.
*Is the a charge for using the ATM? If so how much? Some banks do not charge for using their ATMs, only ATMs at other banking or business locales. Knowing which ATMs to use free of charge will keep more money in your bank account.
*What are the fees for other banking transactions, such as stopping a check or bouncing a check? Banks will charge fees for out-of-the-ordinary transactions, some charge much more than others however.
*Is there a charge for debit card transactions? If so, how much?
*Is online banking or banking by phone available? If so, is there a charge for these banking services and how much are the charges? Paying bills via online banking is a convenience, but at what price?
*Is there a minimum balance requirement? If so, what is the minimum balance requirement and how much is the bank charge if the account falls below the minimum daily requirement?
*Are checks cleared in particular order? Some banks clear larger checks first, which can cause the bank balance to dip below daily minimum balance requirements (costing you money) or may even cause a check to bounce (again costing you money).
*How long until a deposited check clears into the account? Each bank has a different time frame for deposited personal checks or out-of-town checks to clear. Being unaware of the time frame could cause a check written on the account to bounce, incurring bounced check fees and/or overdraft fees.
*How much are bounced check fees and overdraft fees? Some banks offer overdraft protection for free if a customer has both a checking and saving account with them. Linked bank accounts may also allow for writing a check for more than is in the checking account, without additional cost to a customer.
*Ask where (if any) bank branches are located and the hours of operation. If a bank branch is conveniently located, in-house banking can save money over off-premise banking.
Double check last month’s bank statement, your bank may be ripping you. Getting answers to these questions will help you decide which bank offers the best deal.