Since interest rates have been at historic lows for an extended period of time, banks have been increasing their fees to recoup lost income.
If you bank with a traditional banking institution, it would be wise to acquaint yourself with the charges you may be paying on your accounts. Many banks have increased the minimum balance requirements on their non-interest checking accounts. If your balance falls below the minimum, you will be hit with a fee (my bank charges $15 and others are higher).
If you routinely use an ATM to get cash, you may want to check your statement to see if you are paying fees for using your card. Many banks are now charging fees for ATM usage even though they did not do it before. In fact, many people think that they will not be charged ATM charges for using the ATM at Wawa. PNC, which handles the ATMs at the Wawa stores in the area, may not be charging you, but your own bank may be.
There is a new move afoot in the banking arena to begin charging bank customers a fee to simply use their debit cards to make a purchase (even for a single purchase in a month). Many of the nation’s largest banks are planning to charge fees anywhere from $3 to $5 per month. Think about how much money this will amount to. Additionally, some banks have instituted fees to charge you for using a live teller. Once again, this is to transact on your own money.
What can you do to help yourself? First, review your bank’s policies and fees, and see how you are or will be impacted. If you are being impacted, see if you can make a change – maybe to a different type or account – to reduce or eliminate some fees. If this does not work, consider some alternatives. Credit unions have been growing in popularity. Many charge fees that are lower than what traditional banks will charge.
Do yourself a favor and look into this issue soon.Jim Heisler is a Certified Financial Planner with Family Wealth Services in Holmesburg. You can read all his Financial Perspective columns here.
Registered Representative, Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., A Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC and Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc. a Registered Investment Advisor. Family Wealth Services, LLC and Cambridge are not affiliated.
Jim Heisler, CFP®, CDFA™, CASL™ Family Wealth Services, LLC is located at 8275 Frankford Ave. (215-332-4968)
The views expressed are not necessarily those of Cambridge and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any security. These situations are hypothetical in nature and do not represent a specific client.