Personal banking has become easier than ever to manage, thanks to online banking, mobile banking and text or email alerts. And yet too many of us are still dealing with checking account fees and penalties, which quickly add up when you’re not looking. It’s time to look at your checking account and see just how easy it is to avoid these charges.
Start by assessing your checking account’s monthly service fee and the minimum balance requirement. Each time your balance falls below that minimum, you’re probably assessed a fee. Each time. Ideally you would maintain a balance high enough that this won’t happen but for many of us that’s not realistic. Instead, look for a new checking account in Madison that doesn’t require a minimum balance, such as Dane County Credit Union’s Checking. Plus there’s no monthly service fee!
Of course, the flip side of not being required to maintain a minimum balance is how to manage your account to ensure you have enough funds when making purchases. There some good tools available to help with this. If funds are low, you can set up an automatic savings transfer for $5 per transfer. Or, you can apply for Kwik Cash line of credit, which automatically transfers funds to your checking and has a low fixed rate and no annual fee. Another way to keep track of your balance is setting up account text or email alerts which tell you when your balance is below a predetermined amount that you set.
The third rail of common checking fees is ATM fees. DCCU members have Surcharge-free access to Alliance One ATMs located through Madison and the U.S. Otherwise, you are welcome to use just about any ATM you come across but you’ll pay for the convenience with a small fee that the ATM owner will charge users. Sometimes there’s just no way around it but usually you can plan ahead to find the Surcharge-free ATMS available to you which will save money in the long run. And if nothing else, use your debit card at the store for your next purchase and get cash back.
Keeping these simple tips in mind will save you money immediately and then add up over time. And no one deserves your hard-earned money more than you do!