Sep 12th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Finances

What Fees Do You Pay?

With a little scrutiny and some comparison exercises, you can find a bank that is senior-friendly that charges few fees to seniors. It will take some time and energy to get the information, but most of it is available online and we seniors have a lot of time on our hands.  Let’s choose to make it productive.

Here are some things to look for in bank disclosure information available on every banking website there is:

  • Get all the information you can find on what fees are charged; overdrafts, monthly maintenance, wires, low balance, and any others that are identified.  Be aware that many banks offer zero monthly maintenance checking accounts for seniors over 55. If you don’t want to change banks and yours charges you a monthly fee, ask for a waiver.
  • Bundle your accounts.  Seniors frequently get breaks on fees if they have a checking account, a savings account and credit card account(s) at one banking institution.  Find out what fees you can avoid by bundling your accounts.
  • Do the math on interest bearing accounts.  If you have an interest bearing account, be sure you actually get enough interest paid back to you to cover the monthly maintenance fee charged on the account.
  • Think about unconventional banking. Consider online banking with institutions that don’t have any buildings to support (ING Direct and Ally are just two).  And be sure you are signed up for alerts so you can be aware of anything happening to your account that might generate a fee.  Consider a small home-town bank rather than the big-box banks, or a credit union.  These smaller institutions frequently offer services that do not include fees.  It’s worth checking out.

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