Banking customers who want to save money on fees can take a few tips from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., or FDIC, which recently published some tips to help consumers avoid unnecessary fees on their bank savings and checking accounts.
The tips are relatively basic, but worthy of a reminder and a monthly checkup, especially now that banks are expected to increase fees to make up the income they may no longer earn on excessive overdraft charges.
Here's what the FDIC recommends:
1. Shop around for bank account services. Compare your bank's fees to those of other banks, especially if your bank adds new fees for services you use or increases existing fees that you've paid in the past.
2. Read the information you receive from your bank. Check your monthly account statements for errors or new fees that you didn't know about and were charged.
3. Know your options on overdraft fees. Keep good records of your transactions, and make sure you have enough money in your account to cover checks you've written and other withdrawals. If you don't have enough money in your account, try to use a cheaper alternative to overdraft protection such as a checking account that's linked to a savings account, an overdraft line of credit or a small-dollar loan, the FDIC suggests.
4. Watch out for ATM fees. Whenever possible, withdraw cash only from your own bank's machines. If you have to use another bank's ATM in an emergency situation, be aware of the fees you'll be charged.
So what's your take on these tips? Are they unrealistic, pointless, useful, practical, helpful or what?