Banishing Bank Fees – Is It Possible?

In challenging economic times, banks are seeking more ways to charge you for their services. Some banks are even charging a minimum of $10 per month for checking account fees! Insufficient funds fees and overdraft charges have shot sky high during the past few years.

How can you stem unnecessary spending when it comes to your bank accounts? Is it really possible to get rid of those fees?

Bank Fee Types and How to Have the Fees Removed from Your Account

1.    Monthly fees for checking accounts:

·    Some banks have always charged checking account customers monthly fees. If you bank at such a bank, visit the bank and inquire about how to have the charges removed. Frankly, it’s unlikely those banks will change their policy, but it’s still worth your effort.

·    At some banks, these charges are new. If you bank at a financial institution that recently changed their policy to start charging monthly fees, you might be able to convince them to remove those recurring charges from your account.

o    Remind them you’ve been a customer for X years and been quite pleased with their services.

o    Also, share that you’re actively looking for another financial institution that doesn’t charge monthly fees.

o    You just might get satisfaction in this case.

2.    NSF fees. If you’ve ever accidentally overdrawn your checking account, you were most likely hit with an “Insufficient Funds” fee or “NSF.” NSF fees are just another way for your bank to make a little extra dough from you.

·    However, did you know that you can call your bank and ask that the NSF fee be removed from your account?

·    Call your bank and acknowledge you made an error or explain the situation that caused the insufficient funds.

·    Particularly, if it’s the first episode of being charged an NSF fee, or the lateness of your deposit was through no fault of your own, your bank will most likely waive the charge(s), or a portion of them, if asked – especially if a whole slew of NSF fees resulted from one error.

·    If you handle your account in such a way as to receive these charges quite often, however, there may be nothing you can do about them. In fact, even though the bank may be making a lot of money off you, they may cancel your account for too many NSFs.

3.    Bank credit card late payment fees. In the event you have a credit card through your bank, certain situations will trigger extra fees. In particular, banks are quick to charge late fees, even if your payment is received just one day late.

·    If you’re charged a late fee on your credit card, definitely call your bank and ask that the charge be removed.

·    You’ll most likely be pleasantly surprised, as long as it’s a rare occurrence.

Tips to Use When Talking with Bank Representatives

1.    Be polite. It’s wise to be upbeat and polite when asking a bank to forgive a fee.

2.    Use a friendly tone of voice. Voice tone matters when you’re speaking to bank staff, even if it’s over the phone.

3.    Get to the point. Briefly present your situation and state your request. Have your account number on hand. Know how long you’ve banked with the financial institution as banks don’t want to lose good customers who’ve been with them for years.

4.    Keep helpful notes nearby. Jot down anything that might help you explain to the bank what you’re calling about.

5.    Have pencil and paper ready. You might need to take notes about what the bank representative tells you.

Examine Your Options if Your Bank Refuses to Remove the Charges

If you aren’t successful with getting bank fees removed from your account, consider the option of finding another financial institution where you’ll not be charged such fees. When you meet with representatives from other banks, be specific about what you’re looking for – such as a checking account with absolutely no monthly fees.

Consider visiting local credit unions as they’re known for charging fewer or no fees to their customers, known as “members.” Plus, many credit unions are full service, offering low interest rate mortgages and car loans.

Banishing bank fees is possible!

Contacting bank representatives in a timely fashion after a fee is charged and addressing the issue politely and succinctly might just get a bank fee removed from your account. However, if these strategies don’t work, examine your options at other banking institutions to protect your dollars from unnecessary fees.

Author: Dr. James Hans

Dr. James Hans is a personal finance expert, who has dedicated his life to providing financial education in the areas of personal finance and investing.

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