banking

7 financial habits that increase bank fees

Dropping below your minimum balance
Dropping below your minimum balance © jcjgphotography/Shutterstock.com

Some banks require you to maintain at least a certain amount of money in your account. If you dip below that number, you could be penalized for it. Say your bank requires you to maintain an average balance of at least $300 in your account. If the average amount you have in the account drops below $300, you could be charged a fee that is taken directly from your account.

To keep your balance up, have your paycheck direct deposited into your checking account. Then consider using your bank's online tools or a phone app to monitor your balance. If possible, add a cushion of $500 to $1,000 in your account for unexpected expenses, Ivanov says. Also, reconcile your checking account each month to stay on top of your balance and spot any errors.

When looking over your bank account, if you realize you're not able to regularly maintain the needed balance, it may be time for a change. Consider opening an account with a lower minimum balance requirement or no minimum balance needed at all.

Some credit unions offer this type of account. An online bank account that's insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. might be another possibility. "Most online banks do not have an account minimum requirement," says Mina Ennin Black, founder of WealthEssentials Money Management, a financial planning and investment firm in New York.

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