10 Banking Moves To Make Today

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.

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11 Responses to 10 Banking Moves To Make Today

  1. Teri Newton says:

    One tip – many credit unions network together to offer free ATM withdrawals from other credit unions. It’s pretty nifty and one reason I will never *get* banks. I can’t say I have ever been snagged by an ATM fee, and any credit union ATM machine I have used has been free.

    Oh, it is the “co-op” network. Maybe the benefits are larger in a big city, but all of the credit unions I have ever looked up were in the co-op network, so I generally can find an ATM anywhere for free withdrawals. I Was going to write an article on credit unions though so can share more on that. Too many people I know assume credit union means less convenience, because they are more regional, but with the co-op I don’t find that at all. Plus I don’t get dinged with ridiculous fees, in general. Though last I shopped around some of the CUs were bad with fees, it all depends.

  2. Teri Newton says:

    Oh, I forgot to add, many employers don’t offer Direct Deposit. Given the choice I agree, but you know every time I go to make a deposit they bug me and I say, “well, I don’t have a choice!” It gets old. Believe me I have bugged my boss too. 😉

  3. steven says:

    Tip 10 is good advice. A while ago, I nearly emptied a savings account, but I kept a little bit in when they said that I didn’t need a minimum balance. However, I came to find out that they changed their policy a few months ago, and for the last few months they have been taking a dollar out of my account every month because I didn’t have the minimum balance in the account.

    I was not a happy camper.

  4. Mike D. says:

    Get rid of #8 & #9 by paying all your bills online (Save on stamps, check fees, envelopes, wasted time)I have rare ever written a check in the past few years. Take it one step further and have you pill posted to your credit card automatically…earn points and administrate less bills in the process (Assuming you pay off every month).

  5. Mike D. says:

    Excuse my typos above.

  6. kev says:

    Is there any benefit to leaving an old banking account open? My “old” account is a local credit union that hasn’t changed its fees policy in decades (in other words, I do not worry about being charged monthly fees if I were to leave it open with a small balance).

    Is leaving the account open in case I ever feel the need to go back to it for my banking needs, or (more likely) I decide to use them for a future loan a wise decision? Or should I just close the account and cross that bridge if I ever come to it?


  7. Henry @ Binary Dollar says:

    Something that I like to look for in banks is reimbursement for ATM fees. It makes every ATM accessible with no penalties. I think some banks offer a max of 6 or 10 dollar reimbursement a month so you have to be careful not to take out too much.

  8. Gail says:

    Balance your checkbook is the best advice. Once a week on my bill paying day, I balance both our personal and business checking accounts. This means I catch all the debit card uses, etc. before paying any bills. Much easier than finding out you forgot something when you bounce a check. My on-line account also gives me the chance to ‘eye-ball’ the savings accounts (all with their own purposes) to be sure that they look correct. It is also nice to see the decrease in my mortgage each month. I’m not sure why people wouldn’t take advantage of balancing their accounts when you can do it on line and the more frequently you do it, the less chance for error and bank fees.

  9. Bill says:

    You might want to try a money market account at a brokerage. Interest rates tend to be higher than banks and many allow check writing privileges. This will also give you exposure to the investing world.

  10. sam says:

    I don’t agree with closing more than one account at a time. Your credit report gets ding for closing accounts especially if you close multiple accounts at a time.

    If you have to close one, close one a year. Unfortunatley, a credit report doesn’t show why you closed so it can seemed as you negotiated with the creditors.

  11. Gail says:

    Sam, The original post mentioned closing bank accounts that are dormant and costing you money. Closing them is a good idea. It isn’t the same as closing multiple credit card accounts at the same time. Although I see no problem with that either. Too many people live in fear of their credit score when they should be concentrating on their own financial well being. If you have no big purchases in the forseeable future that would require a loan, close out what you need to. Much better to go to a bank for a mortgage 2-4 years after closing out accounts than go for a mortgage with open credit card lines of credit in the 10’s of thousands of dollars.

    If closing out a couple bank accounts that are costing you money to maintain is going to sink your credit rating, then you have a lousy credit rating to start with and you definately need to do some financial house cleaning.

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