Saving money at your credit union or bank doesn't just mean depositing your paycheck into an account twice a week. It can also mean getting the most bang for your buck on financial services. It's hard to save money these days, and many of us are so busy, we overlook some simple steps to make sure we aren't paying any charges or fees we don't have to while also taking advantage of the best promotions and interest rates. Let's take a look at a few ways to save money at your credit union or banking institution.
You tried to game your direct deposit again this week, didn't you? We've all been there. With a low checking account balance, you race a late-night purchase against this week's paycheck: which will reach your checking account first? If the charge beats your payment, your account balance dips below zero, and you end up with an overdraft fee when your bank or credit union covers the difference. According to Experian, the average overdraft fee in the United States is around $35.
Overdraft fees: If you make a purchase or withdrawal for more money than they have available in your account, your financial institution makes the payment anyway and then charges you a fee for an overdraft fee.
There are several ways to avoid overdraft protection fees:
Provide your own overdraft protection: Financial institutions may offer overdraft protection by taking your money from a different account within your institution to cover your debt. Many banks charge a fee for this that is similar to the price you pay for over-drafting. Some, such as USALLIANCE Financial, link your accounts as a courtesy and change only a nominal fee per transfer.
Keep a balanced checkbook: Over-drafting can result from necessity--sometimes bills and paychecks don't line up all that well! But when you find yourself paying an extra $35 for late-night pizza delivery, then maybe what you should be paying is closer attention to your checking account balance.
Minimum Balance & Monthly Maintenance Fees
Many banks claim that monthly maintenance fees are there to ensure your money is always available and ready to use, but this is the 21st century, folks. Other financial institutions, such as USALLIANCE Finance, offer excellent checking account and savings account products without the monthly maintenance costs. When picking the right account for you, be sure to avoid unnecessary maintenance fees.
The same can be said for minimum balance fees. When the funds in your account drop below a certain threshold determined by a bank, then they can start charging you extra account fees for not having enough money. How much money you have to keep in your account depends on your financial institution. At some banks, that number is $500, $1,000, and for some corporate accounts even more, but at USALLIANCE Finance, that minimum balance amount would be $0. Remember, You can avoid these nefarious surcharges by choosing to bank at a credit union that does not penalize members for low account balances.
Speaking of Minimums…
Don't forget to pay off those high-interest credit cards as soon as possible and avoid paying only the minimum balance due if you can. In 2010, the federal government enacted the Truth in Lending Act to make sure credit card companies and other lenders share their loan terms, from interest rates to fees, where people like you and me can find them. Many credit card statements must now tell you how long it will take to pay off a loan at minimum dues per month, and that number is often measured in decades. Trust me, you don't want to be paying off that iPhone 13 when we're in the iPhone 20s!
Too many people take ATM fees as a given. If you bank on the fly and have to grab cash from an out-of-network ATM, most people accept that they will have to pay a fee. For many banks and other financial institutions, these fees can be doubly as frustrating: You have to pay the owner of the ATM, and you also have to pay your bank for the courtesy of using an out-of-network machine. That means that the $20 bill you got at the convenience mart could cost you $5 or more.
When you bank with USALLAINCE Financial, your network of ATMs is larger than that of many of the largest banks. That means there are more opportunities for you to get money from your debit card without incurring a fee. In fact, if you can find a Dunkin' Donuts, 7-11, or McDonald's, you can probably find a USALLIANCE in-network ATM. There are more than 30,000 of them across the country, and, on the rare chance you can't, USALLIANCE will give you back up to $10 a month in out-of-network fees.
Reach out to USALLIANCE Financial today and find more ways to save money while saving money!