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2. Focus on the numbers - 8 tips for choosing a new bank


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2. Focus on the numbers

Don’t like wasting money? Find a bank that doesn’t levy unnecessary charges.

“Why would you pay $100 a year for checking, savings and basic banking if you can pay $30 or $5 or nothing?” says Douglas Boneparth, a CFP professional and president of Bone Fide Wealth, a New York City-based financial adviser firm.

Since online banks have few (if any) branches, they have fewer operating costs. That’s why they usually don’t charge as many fees as brick-and-mortar banks.

Fees you should watch out for include monthly maintenance fees, ATM fees and the cost of overdrawing a checking account. Bankrate data reveals that the average overdraft fee is around $33.36 in 2019. Even opting for an overdraft protection program (where the bank covers a purchase that you can’t afford) can be expensive. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found that those who opt in to overdraft protection pay about seven times more in fees than those who don’t.

When you’re shopping for a new bank, find one that has more lenient overdraft policies.

And when you find your perfect account, do this:

  • Link your checking account to another account at your financial institution so that if you run out of money in your checking account, the bank will pull money from the other account to cover the transaction. You may be charged a fee for this, but it’s typically less than an overdraft fee.
  • Sign up for low-balance alerts through your bank or credit union’s website. These alerts, which you may be able to receive on your smartphone, will alert you when you are at risk of overdrawing your account.

bankrate.com

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