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5 Little-Known Bank Fees That Could Cost You a Fortune


Most people keep their money in banks because they want to grow their wealth over time. This is certainly possible, especially with the best savings account and certificate of deposit (CD) rates hanging around 5.00% right now.

But interest rates are just one part of the equation. You also have to consider how much you’re paying in bank fees. Here are five bank fees that could really eat into your profits if you’re not careful.

1. Maintenance fees

Maintenance fees on bank accounts are less common than they used to be, thanks to the rise of online banks. But there are still accounts that charge customers just for owning them. These are more common with traditional banks. Many give customers an opportunity to waive this fee by making a certain number of monthly deposits, for example, or maintaining a certain minimum balance. But if you can’t do this, you could lose as much as $30 per month to this fee.

You can avoid this by choosing an account that doesn’t have a maintenance fee in the first place. Or if you really like an account but it has a maintenance fee, make sure you’re confident you’ll be able to waive it before choosing to work with the bank.

2. Early withdrawal fees on CDs

CDs offer high interest rates on your funds and lock in that rate for the entire CD term. This could be anywhere from months to years. You’re technically free to take your cash out at any time, but you could face early withdrawal penalties for moving cash out before the CD term ends.

This is pretty easy to avoid, though. Only invest funds you don’t plan to spend before the CD term is up. Or open a high-yield savings account instead, if you prefer having access to your cash at any time.

3. Paper statement fees

Yes, some banks still send paper statements to your mailbox. But doing so requires more time and money than just sending you an eStatement. So a lot of institutions pass this cost along to customers in the form of a paper statement fee.

This is usually only a few dollars per month, but it’s easy to avoid. You usually just have to contact your bank to request electronic statements. You can do this by phone or possibly through your online account.

4. Wire transfer fees

Wire transfers aren’t something most people do all that often. But if you plan to move money around this way, it’s important to check your bank’s fee schedule so you know what to expect. It’s common for banks to charge for outgoing wire transfers, while most offer free incoming wire transfers. But there are some institutions that charge for both.

You may be able to avoid these fees by moving your money another way. Perhaps you could send a check or do an electronic funds transfer instead.

5. ATM withdrawal fees

You should be able to make fee-free withdrawals and deposit cash at ATMs in your bank’s network. These are located at the institution’s branches. It may also have a partnership with a nationwide ATM network, like Allpoint.

Out-of-network ATM usage typically results in fees from the ATM owner, but your bank may charge you an extra fee for this as well. You can avoid these fees by sticking to ATMs in your bank’s network. You can find these using your bank’s ATM locator tool on its website or in its mobile app. Alternatively, you can look for a bank that reimburses for out-of-network ATM fees

This isn’t an exhaustive list of bank fees you could run into. For a complete overview, check your bank account’s fee schedule or reach out to your bank for details.

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