How To Avoid Hidden Checking Account Fees

Everyone who has ever had a checking account knows the shock of opening your checking account statement and noticing that there are several unexpected fees.  In the current economy, those little "hidden fees" can be devastating.  Hidden fees on your checking account can add up quickly and really decimate your account.  There a number of ways you can avoid those hidden fees.

First, when you open your checking account, you need to talk to your financial institution about which monthly fees are charged for their checking accounts.

Ask for a fee schedule, and read it carefully.  The fee schedule will lay out any fees that may be charged on accounts.  It is a good idea to keep that fee schedule for future reference, and to read and save any changes to this schedule that you receive in the mail.  If you are ever charged a fee at a rate higher than the published rate, you are entitled to get that fee refunded.

Another way to help avoid hidden checking account fees is to monitor your checking account closely.  Monitoring your account daily through online banking, automated telephone systems, or simply calling your financial institution to find out your balance can minimize the number and amount of fees you're charged.  If you closely monitor your account, you will know right away when a hidden fee has been charged to your account.  Quite frequently, if you catch the fee in time you can dispute it or otherwise request a refund.

You should always keep a transaction journal of all checks written and debit card purchases on your checking account.  If you do not keep up with the money you have spent, then there is a greater possibility of getting NSF fees charged to your account.  You should ask your financial representative what kind of fees you would be charged if the funds are not in your account, and whether they will pay items for you.  Most financial institutions will pay items up to a certain amount after your account has been established, and charge the same fee to pay the item that they would have charged to return it.  This arrangement may at least save you from being charged NSF fees by the company to whom you've written the check.

Following these simple steps you can avoid those pesky hidden fees on your checking account.  After all, you work hard for your money; it should not be wasted on hidden fees.


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