When it comes to paying attention to your finances, one thing that is probably overlooked in many households is your monthly bank statement. Even if you pay attention to your credit card statements, it is less likely that you are equally aware of what is happening on your bank account statement. Why not put it on your summer reading schedule and give a good reading – and you might be surprised what you find!
Although most people are apt to know what is on their credit card statements, it may surprise you to know that, according to the Chicago Fed, that you are going to pay more in bank fees than you do in credit card fees. They reported that banks typically make an average of 56 percent of their non-interest related income from their fees, but credit card companies only make 0.72 percent of their income from non-interest related fees.
Bank accounts can be expensive if you do not pay attention to what is happening in them. One charge that really is unnecessary is the one given when your account becomes overdrawn. It is common for there to be a $35 or $40 fee charged when this happens, says USNews. If you do not watch your balances, you can end up paying a lot of money that you could use better elsewhere.
Another thing that can prove to be expensive is if you use your bank card at ATM’s a lot. There are often fees associated with using your card, and these can add up over a year’s time.
Look over all of your expenditures on your bank’s financial statement. This will help you to identify if there is possibly a problem with unauthorized purchases from identity theft. If you find purchases that you don’t remember, try to verify them first, then contact the bank if you are sure you did not make it. Notify the bank of your suspicions, too. If this happens, many times they will correct the balance and watch for problems in the future.
Make sure that all of the deposits are there, too. Banks sometimes do make mistakes and if a deposit has not been properly posted, it may unnecessarily result in being overdrawn. Then you get charged for their mistake.
By thinking about any fees you may have received, you may be able to find out ways to avoid them in the next month – or at least reduce them, says MoneyCrashers. Fees may come from the bank having to cover being overdrawn, for bank wires, or from ATM’s that are not in the bank’s network. Some accounts that earn interest may also charge a fee if a minimum balance is not maintained.
Probably the best way to avoid paying a lot of fees unnecessarily is to keep accurate records of your spending and deposits. The check register is a very good way to do this, but you do have to work to make sure you put all transactions into it.
The bank NatWest mentions that you should be very careful about what paperwork you keep on hand concerning your finances. This includes all bank statements and other financial information. Of course, the primary reason for this is to avoid any kind of identity theft. In order to further prevent it, they recommend that people go paperless, and they can access their up-to-date bank information online. They also suggest that you shred any bank information (and credit card or debit card information, too), rather than just put it into your trash.