InfoChoice’s top tips to help you save bank fees
Bank fees are in the spotlight with a looming civil lawsuit against the banks for unlawful fees. Australians pay the banks over $5B each year in bank fees. InfoChoice has prepared a helpful list of tips to minimize the bank fees you pay.
1. Late Fees
– Be aware of your credit card’s payment date, transfer money into the account at least a few days before this date to avoid being charged late fees. Banks charge up to $40 for late payment.
2. Card Annual Fees
– If you have multiple credit cards consider cutting them to only one card. Why pay annual fees for on multiple cards if you don’t have to? Some credit cards have an annual fee of $300-400 or even more per year per card.
– Find a credit card with no annual fee.
3. Account Keeping Fees
– Account keeping fees can by up to $18 per year. Many banks no longer charge monthly fees for some of their transaction accounts if you deposit your salary into the account each month or maintain a minimum monthly balance while some accounts don’t even have these conditions attached to them.
4. Over-limit Fees
– Penalty over-limit fees are up to $10. Regularly check your account balance, budget for weekend spending and maintain a safe buffer of $100-200 in the days leading up to your next payday to avoid over-limit fees. Some accounts now even offer a free overdraft facility for small amounts to help avoid this for example the Bankwest Zero Transaction Account.
– Regularly review your available credit on your credit card and don’t spend more than your limit to avoid over-limit charges.
5. Transaction Fees
– You could be charged $5 each time for an over-the-counter withdrawal. Be aware of the number and types of transactions that are free for your account, this should help reduce the transaction fees on your account.
6. ATM Fees
– Overseas ATMs – majority of transaction accounts and credit card charge fees for withdrawing money outside of Australia. Most will incur a fee of up to $5 or 3% of the withdrawal amount. If you are travelling for extended periods of time and this can really add up! Consider the Wizard Clear Advantage MasterCard which doesn’t charge a fee for making overseas purchases or cash withdrawals. You can cash up the card prior to departure and can withdraw the money like your normal ATM card and incur no fees.
– In Australia, avoid using ATMs that aren’t part of your bank’s network so that you don’t pay the foreign ATM fee. Many bank website have an ATM locator function to find the nearest ATM for your bank.
7. Application Fees
– Application fees can be as high as $990. Home loan application fees can sometimes be reduced if you have other products with the lender, some home loans have removed the application fee altogether. Package deal home loans often waive the application fee for new customers and offer a generous discount on advertised interest rates in exchange of having multiple products with them.
– You can also often negotiate the removal of application fees with your bank.