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Greg McBride

Greg McBride: Beat high overdraft fees

By Greg McBride · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Posted: 6 am ET

Overdraft fees have hit a record high. Sound familiar?

It is becoming one of the certainties of life, along with death and taxes and the Chicago Cubs not making the World Series. (Apologies, Cubs fans!) Overdraft fees have increased again and have set yet another all-time high.

overdrawn-and-over-a-barrel-4

Typical overdraft charge tops $30

The average cost of the 1st overdrawn payment is now $33.07, according to a recent Bankrate.com survey, and this marks the 17th consecutive year that the average fee has increased. And keep in mind, that's the cost of the 1st overdraft. Any additional overdrafts within a 12-month period could trigger an even higher fee at some banks.

But avoiding the fees is easier than ever. With 24/7 online and mobile account access, you can vigilantly keep tabs on your available account balance. Sign up for email or text alerts to know when your balance gets below a certain level.

Use your savings as a backup

As a line of defense, request a link between your checking and savings accounts, so that it is your money covering any shortfall -- rather than money borrowed from the bank. You might be charged a fee for the convenience, but it would be cheaper than getting dinged by an overdraft fee.

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