How to Prevent Excessive Bank Charges

With a number of class action lawsuits popping up involving unfair bank charges or deceptive overdraft fees, many banks have been hit with damages requesting payouts to their customers. Chase Bank and National City are just a few of the banks that have had to pay out damages to customers that have filed unfair banking charges. lists, “Consumers who have been charged overdraft fees from their state or regional bank to cover debit card, or checks written when there were insufficient funds in their accounts.” Overdraft fees would multiply exponentially, putting their customers in a huge amounting debt.

However, while these types of excessive fees are highly publicized and resulting in class action lawsuits, there are many other excessive bank charges that simply slip under the radar. It’s important to know what these types of excessive charges might be in order to prevent them in your banking accounts. These charges may seem small but they can add up to be thousands in fees each year.

Debit charge

Most all debit cards can be used as Visa check cards. This is a convenient way for people to pay for things without carrying around cash and forgo charging anything to a credit card. With more people being weary of credit card debt and large APR financing rates, the debit card has been the go-to payment choice for many people.

However, it’s important to make sure there isn’t a debit charge for whichever bank you choose. Some banks have debit charge fees that enlist a small fee for every time the card is used via their Visa check card logo. This is an excessive bank charge that is very much avoidable. Many banks do not offer a charge for debit card usage and on the contrary, many banks offer a rewards points system for any uses with your debit card. PNC Bank offers a Virtual Wallet option that allows customers to receive points for their bank card purchases.

While some rewards point systems can only be redeemed for useless items and unnecessary gift cards, PNC Bank has an extensive rewards catalog that offers everything from gas cards to all the major gas stations or cash value cards that are simply automatically deposited back into your checking account.

Insufficient funds charges

Many banks have revoked their exorbitant insufficient funds charges for every time you go over your balance in your bank account. The previous charges of around $35 for every insufficient funds charge, even for a $2 overage, brought up a lot of class action cases against banks.

However, it is a smart tip to link a savings or credit card account to your bank account in cases of insufficient funds charges. This is a safety net so that if there is an overage in your debit card charges or checks, the remaining balance will come out of a separate account that you have designated.

This is a safety net because of unforeseen events that may not be able to be prevented. Although many banks offer identity theft protection and full coverage for any items that are disputed, there is still a leeway time before being refunded any funds that were illegally charged. While waiting for any reimbursement you may be overly withdrawn or left with not enough to pay necessary bills. Keeping a safety net linked separate account is an easy way to prevent excessive bank charges for just-in-case moments.

Bank ATM’s

It’s very important to pay attention to the charges that certain ATM’s will charge for withdrawing money. Although ATM’s linked to your bank account will undoubtedly have free ATM usage, there are usually fees for usually non-bank affiliated ATM’s. The fee can be as much as $4, and the fees can really start to add up.

To avoid these bank charges, make sure to use only the ATM’s that are affiliated with your particular bank account. Another way to avoid this bank charge is to apply for an account that has perks, like no charges fees for outside ATM usage. PNC offers this option for their account customers in the form of refund. Although the ATM charge will appear on your statement along with your ATM transaction, the refund of the ATM charge will appear within 1-2 business days.

Bank charges aren’t always the big charges that grab your attention when you receive your monthly statement. Many times the bank charges are only a few dollars and can be missed or overlooked. However, these simple charges tend to add up through the month and can amount to a large sum that can easily be prevented. Take advantage to the different bank account offers and promotions there are and find a bank account that will suit your needs and work with you to offer the best deal possible.