Atlanta Bank Account Fees Leave Some Customers in Debt
Most folks don't budget bank fees into their finances - but if we're not more careful, maybe we should.
Atlanta banks - as well as banking institutions all over the country - are taking increasingly larger chunks of our paychecks. Between annual account fees, monthly "maintenance" fees - even fees for writing too many checks - some Americans are paying hundreds of dollars annually. The worst part is, many of us don't even realize it until we happen to glimpse our banking statement, according to Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys.
Shelling out $20 a month just for being a banking customer doesn't make sense - especially not when there are options that can eliminate those fees. That's twenty bucks that could be spent on treating yourself to your favorite mocha frappuccino - four times. Or more practically, on groceries or gas. Instead, you're giving that money away and getting nothing in return. If that sounds like a bad deal, here are some ways to fix it.
Read your mail
My bank increased the minimum balance on my checking account from $300 to $1,000 - and I was keeping an average balance of about $800. Fortunately, I always browse through my bank statement. When I noticed a strange $10 fee, I got on the phone with my bank. They claimed they had notified me of the change in a terms update (which I probably tossed as junk mail - never a good idea!) but took pity on me and waived the fee. And they told me I could become exempt from the new rule by signing up for direct deposit. It pays to pay attention to your statements - and any other information your bank sends.
Compare bank accounts
Your bank probably offers multiple checking accounts. Some offer higher interest rates, some provide perks like free checks and some are bare-bones. To save the most money, go with the least extras. Truth is, you don't need an account with all the bells and whistles. The benefits of better interest and free checks will erode once you add up all the extra fees you'll pay for those fancy accounts. Best to go with the free checking. After all, a bank account really is just a place to store your money safely. And if you're paying an arm and a limb to do so, your paycheck isn't really being protected.
You have the power to prevent the biggest banking penalty - the non-sufficient funds fee. On average, banking customers are dinged $30 for bouncing a check. All you have to do to avoid that fee? Keep an eye on how much is in your account. If you're cutting it close, don't write that check. Do without the purchase or, in worst-case scenarios, consider using a credit card. But be careful. Regularly relying on plastic to spend more than you have is a dangerous path you don't want to go down - a path that dead-ends in debt.
Even if your financial habits have already landed you in debt, it's not too late. Bankruptcy can offer a new beginning. By lowering your debt, you can keep more money in your pockets every month. That means less chance of dipping below the minimum balance or bouncing checks. Best of all, it's free to find out if bankruptcy can solve your debt dilemma when you sign up for a complimentary one-on-one debt analysis with a bankruptcy attorney in Atlanta. Stop paying your bank and start paying yourself.