vow to eliminate needless ATM fees by making all
withdrawals at your own bank's ATM. Many smaller
banks and credit unions that lack an extensive
ATM network of their own have joined ATM alliances
that permit free withdrawals from hundreds or
thousands of ATMs around the country. Scope out
whether your bank belongs to such a network.
Another avenue is with the debit cards that have seen such tremendous growth because of their convenience, especially on small purchases. Opting for cash back at the point of sale, as long as your bank doesn't charge you for point-of-sale transactions, is tantamount to a free ATM withdrawal.
This is particularly viable for
consumers who are traveling and unable to access
their own bank's ATM. So the next time the Transportation
Security Administration confiscates your toothpaste
at the airport, use the inevitable stop at a convenience
store as an opportunity to get the cash you need
without paying ATM fees.
Step 2: Keep track of where you've been.
One bounced check will set you back an average of $28.23, not including any fee tacked on by the merchant you were paying. Have more than one payment returned and the cost for each additional overdraft can easily balloon to more than $30. That can result in a pretty hefty tab if you've miscalculated your balance and sent out a host of payments to cover the household bills.
Because of the ever-increasing cost of bounced checks, keeping accurate tabs on your available account balance is more important than ever. Diligently recording each of the checks you've written, all of the online payments and transfers you've made, as well as noting each instance where you swiped the handy debit card, is a precursor to avoiding an overdrawn account.
There are a couple other strategies to employ. More than 98
percent of banks surveyed offer free online access
to account holders, facilitating the ability to
check your available balance 24/7 before you initiate
a transaction that results in an overdrawn account.
Having overdraft protection linked to your savings
account is a low-cost, sometimes no-cost, backstop.