Today's economy being what it is, the ability to keep one's finances float can spell the difference between surviving the economic downturn and going bankrupt. People in the United States have had to quickly adapt their financial habits to fit the requirements of the current state of the economy. While keeping an eye on savings and foregoing the luxury buys are one of the most obvious ways to avoid going bankrupt, some people might be overlooking keeping their eye on their credit card and banking fees.
One of the industries most affected by the financial crisis is the banking industry. As more and more credit holders delay payment on their monthly bills, banks are coping with the rising rate of credits being defaulted. As a result, banks are beginning to see bank fees as one of the ways to recover. Case in point, a recent study from bankrate.com has shown that the average ATM fee is now at $1.97. Compared to figures from last year, this represents an 11 percent increase.
Bank fees are one of the most overlooked financial leaks that banking customers miss. These small fees may seem inconsequential at first but, as they begin to add up, they often translate to a considerable amount of lost cash every month. Aside from the aforementioned ATM fees, another fee that banking customers need to be aware of are overdraft fees. Overdraft fees are standard fees that have to be paid when the cost of the transaction is higher than the money available in the account. Overdraft fees can be quite high and estimates from Consumer Reports place the interest as high as 1000%.
Most banks have some form of membership fee for their customers. However, what most customers do not know is that they may be able to negotiate for a lower membership fee with their bank. This, however, depends on the bank. There are also some banks that have a monthly maintenance charge for their clients. As much as possible, these banks should be avoided. Some banks will only demand payment if the account falls below a certain amount, the maintaining balance. So, it is best to know what the minimum balance in the account is and to take care that the amount in the account never falls below it.
Another bank fee vacuum according to bankrate,com are ATM surcharges that are charged when customers use their card on another bank's ATM. According to the study of bankrate.com, 99.2% of ATMS have these surcharges. It is therefore best to avoid using ATMs, if at all possible. A good strategy is to use a debit card for purchases.
The economic turmoil has placed a lot of pressure on the average American to keep their finances firmly in check. It looks like everyone is going to have to be careful of even the little things when it comes to fighting off the economic turndown.