Beating Bank Fees
Avoiding Bank Fees: They're Taking My Money!
Last week I received a VERY detailed description about all the charges of my bank and I was appalled. They charge for everything!! How did they get so much power? What can we poor peons do to protect ourselves? Aren't they in business to serve the customers? Please ask your readers what can be done. A person can't just change banks every few months when you find out how you are being taken advantage of! I try to keep informed but they seem to be able to stay ahead of me. I can't even bring in my piggy bank of coins because they will charge me for counting them. They even charge for taking rolls of coins!
Avoiding Bank Fees: Credit Unions
I got fed up with all the extra charges and now have all of our accounts at a credit union. Check around and see if you could join any of the credit unions in your area. They are "service" oriented not "profit" oriented.
Julie in IN
Avoiding Bank Fees: Free Checking and More
The best defense I can offer against rising bank charges is to join a credit union. The one I belong to has free checking accounts, no annual fee low interest credit cards, no fee debit cards, and offers incredible rates on consumer loans (the last time I refinanced my mortgage with them they didn't require an appraisal and didn't charge me ANY closing costs! I paid $10 for a flood certificate, $20 in filing fees and $130 for title insurance). In addition, they offer great deals on cell phone service ($10.95 per month), car and home insurance, and financial planning.
Avoiding Bank Fees: Savings and Loans Are Better
I have found that Savings & Loans are the way to go. I have a checking account that pays interest, and as long as I keep a $200 minimum (which isn't much compared to many banks), I don't pay any monthly fees (except when I've hit the ATM too many times in a month!) Many waive monthly checking fees if you have your payroll check direct deposited. I have found that I rarely pay any kind of fees when I've been with a S&L, and if I do, my interest usually covers it.
I've banked with big banks (I will NEVER do business with Barnett Bank so long as I shall live) and credit unions and I still find Savings and Loans work best for me. I even got my home loan through my bank and it was a breeze. I find S&L's cater to the average working person, which is why I like them so much.
If you have a Savings & Loan in your area, check them out and see what they have to offer. You may find you like them too!
Karen H. in Thomasville, GA
Avoiding Bank Fees: View From a Bank Employee
I worked for a bank for 6 years and let me tell you that she is not kidding! When I was in banking in the late 80's the bank was only required to keep 7% of all deposits on hand in case people came to clean out their money. The remaining 93% is used by the bank to MAKE MONEY FOR THEM!
If your bank has turned to truncating, which is when they send you an "image" of your check instead of the real thing with your bank statement, it actually SAVES the bank money, and some banks charge you more for this, PLUS have your money to invest for themselves at the same time! Truncating saves postage, plus they will destroy your checks within a month and put them on microfish and then charge you $15.00 for a copy of a check that belongs to YOU!
Can you believe they turn around and give you tiny returns of interest on your savings accounts, CDs and IRAs and charge children $2 for having a savings balance below $100. It is disgusting.
It is really a scary thing to think that banks have this much power. It is one of the reasons I just could not stand working in that environment anymore. Along with the Dilbert factor of working in cubicles even when you are an executive. I hope this enlightens people to some of the scams that banks really have going. It is really depressing working for this kind of a business!
Avoiding Bank Fees: Local Banks Are Better
First, shop around. Make a list of all those charges, and spend some time calling banks to ask about their rates and charges. Look into a local bank - they are more often willing to work with you. Lastly, look into programs at your bank that "tie" services together. For example, at our bank, if you get our bank's Visa card you don't have to pay the monthly service fee for checking.
Mary in Virginia
Editor's note: by far the most popular answer was to use a credit union.
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