Fees are a part of normal, everyday life. From gym fees to dealer’s fees when you purchase a car, they’re mostly unavoidable. However, there are a number of fees that are completely unnecessary that you pay without a second thought. Over time, these fees can add up to quite a bit — even hundreds or thousands of dollars per year. Plan ahead to avoid these six costly fees and begin keeping more of your money where it belongs – in your wallet.
1. ATM Fees
Most banks charge a small ATM fee for non-members to withdraw cash from their ATM’s. The amount may seem minor at first – just $2 or $3 – but over time, these fees can add up. If you have an account at a small-town bank, consider opening an account with a larger bank that has ATM’s in more areas. You can also use your smartphone to locate your bank’s ATM in your area, so you can avoid racking up $3 charges simply for withdrawing money.
2. Overdraft Fees
When you withdraw more out of your bank account than is actually in there, your bank can charge exorbitant overdraft fees. Most banks charge between $10 and $30, making a bounced check significantly more expensive. While overdraft protection sounds great, it can actually cause you to incur more fees than if you opted out of this service. On average, individuals without overdraft protection paid $18.63 less than those with overdraft protection each month.
3. Yearly Credit Card Fees
There are hundreds of different credit cards on the market, many with added benefits like cash back on your purchases. However, many of them charge annual fees that over time, can add up significantly. If you have good credit, you have the ability to shop around and choose the card that best fits your needs. Look for one that has no annual fee to avoid absorbing additional unnecessary costs.
4. Convenience Fees
Many merchants have begun to charge convenience fees for certain payment methods. Some retailers may charge an additional fee to use your credit card to pay a bill, especially if you’re paying over the phone. Often, merchants will tack on these fees without mentioning them to the customer and they’re often low enough that the customer doesn’t even notice. In order to avoid these fees, ask before you make a payment if there are any convenience fees for various payment methods. As a backup, carry cash with you and pay in cash when at all possible.
5. Late Fees
When you pay bills late or return your movie rentals late to Redbox, you run the risk of incurring unnecessary expenses. If it’s just a few days, the amount may seem minor. However, late fees continue to accrue the more time that passes, and can quickly exceed the cost of the bill or item itself. Paying your bills or returning items before they are due can help keep you from incurring late fees. You can even get ahead of yourself by paying your bills a month or more in advance, so you’ll never actually be late.
6. Money Transfer Fees
Transferring or sending money domestically or internationally can be costly, depending on what service you use. Fees can range from just a few cents to 10% of the total transaction, and if you transfer money frequently, you can end up paying a lot just to use the service. Some money transfer services offer free transactions, making it much less costly send money in the United States or internationally. For example, when you use your bank account to transfer funds with Ria Money Transfer, you pay $0 in fees. Do your homework and select a money transfer service that offers transactions with no additional fees.
While many people pay fees without thinking because they seem minor at the time, even pennies add up. By being conscientious about fees that you don’t have to pay and avoiding them at all costs, you can reduce your overall expenses and utilize the funds for more important (and necessary) charges.