How to beat bank fees

It’s happened to all of us. Sooner or later we will get ensnared in the bank fees trap, and it can be very costly. According to Money Magazine, the big three banks (Chase, Wells Fargo, and BofA) collected $6 billion in ATM and overdraft fees alone in 2015. That’s just three banks. Fees are of course one of the revenue streams banks rely on to stay profitable – especially in an era of intense regulation. Chances are, you have been caught.

But, you don’t have to be a victim. If you are a relatively good customer (read: long time┬ácustomer, keeps a balance, has multiple accounts with the same institution, and doesn’t complain often), then there’s no reason to be subjected to bank fees when you might have made a simple mistake. And, there are plenty of opportunities. Check clearance timetable, account transfer, or maybe an innocent, one-time-only overdraft are all possible opportunities. Here’s how you can fight back.

Contacting customer service to remove dizzying bank fees

bank fees

Credit: Collin Erickson / Flickr

You are going to first want to prepare your story as to why you overdrew your account. “I have many accounts and lost track of which one I was drawing from,” is a good place to start. Let’s face it, among banking, investment, mortgage, and other financial institutions, we have a TON of accounts to track. Next, you are going to want to call customer service and be polite. Ask the agent for a “one time exception” or “courtesy” bank fee reversal. If they give you a bit of friction, here’s what you need to say – “I have been a long-time customer at the bank and have done a lot of business as you will see. Can you see that I have a pattern of steady deposits?” They like deposits – NOT withdrawals. Banks make money by lending out your money.

While these tactics may not always work, if you are usually on-time with payments, make regular deposits, and have a cooperative attitude you should be fine. Let me know your tricks to beating bank fees.

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