What is reasonable when it comes to bank fees?
Personal bank fees can be costly depending on what services are used. Fees are charged for services such as monthly withdrawals/cheques, on-line transactions, ATM withdrawals, credit cards, and overdraft protection.
Most consumers don’t review the fees they are paying, which could result in paying more than necessary. Take a look at what bank services you are using and the associated fees and compare these to other banks. Some banks have a no-fee account that may meet your needs, while others have a package that covers all fees. Be an informed consumer and check out the ideas here on how to keep bank fees to a minimum.
ATM fees run upwards of $1.50 per transaction when using your own bank and as high as $5.00 for another bank’s ATM. By planning and budgeting your cash withdrawals and spending, you can keep these fees to a minimum. Try using cash back at a retail store as this allows you to get cash without having to pay a withdrawal fee. You can also use your credit card for purchases; however, it’s important to have the cash available to pay the credit card bill off at the end of the month.
Paying your bills online or via telephone banking is usually free. But if you do have to write a cheque, then look for an account that allows a limited number each month with no fees.
Some banks may charge lower fees, or may not charge fees at all if you maintain a certain balance in your account. If you don’t need the funds on an ongoing basis, then this can be an economical way to reduce bank fees. It is important to understand the terms and conditions to ensure that there aren’t any surprise fees if you go below the minimum balance.
If you use a lot of bank services and frequently travel, you may want to look into bundled services that allow you to manage your fees and ensure the services and fees meet your needs and budget.
Some accounts may have special services such as bank drafts, money orders, and certified cheques, which are not used very often and can be expensive on a transaction by transaction basis. If you need to use these services, review the fees ahead of time so that you can manage the costs.
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has an Account Selector Tool that allows you to compare features for different bank accounts, monthly fees, transaction fees and services. It helps you determine what services you need and what financial institutions provide the lowest fees. Got to http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/resources/toolsCalculators/Pages/BankingT-OutilsIn.aspx.
Many consumers stay with the same bank because of the amount of work to change banks. If you find fees lower at another bank, consider discussing this with your bank to see if they will match the fees. If you do decide to change banks, then make sure you inform any organization that automatically deposits or withdraws funds from your account to ensure that all your bills are paid on a timely basis.Top of page