Checking accounts are supposed to be convenient and easy to use financial resources. However, many banks charge outrageous fees to checking customers, and it’s sometimes hard to decipher them. Garry Patterson explains how you can protect yourself from checking account fees in the video below.
Male Host: If you think your bank charges a lot of fees these days, you are
Female Host: A brand new study shows the average checking account has 30
separate fees. Some have as many as 50. Gary Patterson is with Clear Point
Credit Counseling. Is it easy to decipher what you’re being charged for,
Garry: It’s very difficult. Oftentimes when folks go to get a new checking
account, they have no idea the fees that may be charged to them, simply
just day to day operations.
Male Host: Is the small print that small or what?
Garry: It’s that small. The fees are oftentimes very hidden. In other
words, you think that something, for those of us who have had a checking
account for many years, would be free. It’s no longer free. If you ask for
your paper statement to make sure that everything is okay, there’s a fee
Male Host: So how do the banks get away with this?
Garry: No one complains. The problem is this. Whenever you’re using your
checking account, oftentimes people, especially with electronic banking,
they don’t pay very good attention to what’s going on. They just look and
see if they’ve got the money. They’ll go spend it. The fees just go without
notice so therefore no one complains.
Female Host: If you do notice a fee, is there a pretty good chance that if
you call and say take this off or I’m moving my money, they’ll take it off?
Garry: There’s a very good chance. Oftentimes if you call your bank or loan
officer and just say I was not aware of this fee. A good way to ask for
that is to say can I have a one-time courtesy waiver of that fee. And
oftentimes they will take it off. Lesson learned. It never happens again.
Male Host: Gary, what about the possibility of maybe going with a smaller
bank? Should we look into that? Are they a little bit more open, or is
almost everybody doing this?
Garry: It depends. Many times a smaller bank will have less fees because
banks are very competitive. So, in other words, if I’m a small bank and I
want your business, I may say look, I won’t charge you to get a paper
statement. I won’t charge you for a debit card. I’ll give you free checks.
So it’s a good way for banks to compete. Shop around.
Female Host: How can they charge for a debit card? That’s part of the
checking account. I can’t use the checking account if I don’t have checks
and I don’t have a debit card. I understand the checks cost money but a
Garry: Well, here’s the thing. When people use their checking account, it
does take resources to process those transactions. The thing is you want to
be very, very careful to select that checking account that best meets your
needs. I may not be willing to pay for paper checks because I don’t use
them. But if I’m willing to pay for that debit card in exchange for not
having all the hassle of paper checks, I may make that decision.
Male Host: What about if I want to still try to earn or gain debit card
rewards or something like that?
Garry: That is getting to be less beneficial these days. Oftentimes people
are going with actual credit cards to earn rewards because in recent times
those debit cards have very few benefits, really.
Female Host: So if you’re starting up a checking account, or you’re
deciding I’m going to shop around, is it just wise to sit down with a
banker and say, “Tell me exactly. I want to read the fine print. Tell me
exactly what the fees are.” And then negotiate at that point?
Garry: Well, you could. The thing that you want to do is you want to see
exactly what those fees are, if the bank can tell you. That’s the problem
is the transparency because the fees are so complicated, again, the banker
may not even know what that fee is. So shop around.
Female Host: In fact, in this study several bankers were asked to look, and
they didn’t know they were being charged either. Even the bank didn’t know.
Male Host: Garry, what about supplementing with another account though?
Garry: Yes, it’s a good idea, as I mentioned, to possibly use a credit
card. You want the benefit of a checking account if you have direct deposit
or you have auto bill pay. But possibly if you want to go for those
rewards, get a credit card to use.
Female Host: So put all your monthly bills on the credit card and then take
your checking account one time and pay that off.
Garry: Just pay it off.
Male Host: And cast a very wide net when searching for that optimal bank.
Garry: Yes, banks are competitive. Take advantage of that.
Male Host: All right, Garry.
Female Host: All right.
Male Host: Thank you so much. We appreciate it.
Female Host: Where to find Garry and him comrades, at Clear Point Credit
Counseling. Thank you.
Garry: Thank you.
Male Host: Up next, a new concert brings together some of the best in R&B
and Soul music.