One would assume that you could place your money in a bank and it would earn you money there. That, unfortunately, is no longer the case. Banks have so many fees and charges that you can easily lose money keeping it in a bank. Here are ten steps you should take if you haven’t already to ensure that the money you put into the bank is earning for you and not the bank:
1. Move your money to a high-interest online bank: Here’s a list of your choices with over 15 online banks now offering over 5% interest.
2. Find a bank that offers free ATM withdrawals: Most cities have enough competition that you can find a bank that offers this service. Also check credit unions which are more likely to offer this free service.
3. Consider consolidating your accounts to one bank: Consolidating accounts will give you leverage to have small fees and minimum waived.
4. Set up direct deposit: Most banks will offer incentives if you direct deposit (although you may have to ask since they aren’t always published). It also saves you the cost in time (and money) of having to deposit the check on your own.
5. Opt out of “courtesy overdraft” protection: This “courtesy service” will cost you a lot if you ever have to use it.
6. Apply for overdraft protection: This is the service you want on the off chance you might bounce a check. Its charges are much better than bouncing a check or courtesy overdraft protection.
7. Don’t chase minimal interest: Most times it isn’t worth the high minimum to earn interest on your checking account. Instead get a free account and keep extra money in a high interest online bank.
8. Balance your checkbook: Are you doing it? It helps ensure you don’t accidentally bounce a check and that the bank doesn’t make any errors.
9. Always get checks on the Internet: You can get them for half the price than ordering them through your bank.
10. Close accounts you don’t use: Believe it or not, you can actually owe the bank money if an old account goes dormant and the banks decides to charge monthly fees for the account.
Making these moves will help you get the best return on your money that you leave in the bank and make the bank pay you for lending money to it instead of the other way around.