7 Bank Secrets

A huge hand attempting to steal money from a man's pocket, EPS 8 vector illustration, notransparencies

You suspected, but didn’t know for sure. So here’s the big news. Banks are in business to make the BANK money, so you will play by the same rules as the average Joe, no matter how long you’ve been with a bank.

Hurts doesn’t it? I’ll let you in on seven bank secrets they don’t want you to know.

7 Bank Secrets They Hope You Don’t Know

1. A lot of big name-banks charge a monthly fee for your checking account if you don’t maintain a minimum balance. There are ways to avoid some of the extra fees: With a monthly direct deposit of $500 or more (two or more direct deposits that add up to $500 or more do not qualify), OR $1,500 minimum daily balance, OR an average daily balance of $5,000 or more in linked deposit/investment accounts.

2. Variable rates make money for the bank. Unless you are planning on selling your home within five years after you buy a house, always choose a fixed rate mortgage rather than a variable rate. Let the bank take the risk of rising interest rates, not you.

3. Credit cardscan be a dangerous game. If you do everything right, you have access to cash back and travel rewords worth thousands of dollars. If you miss payments and skip paying your bill in full, you can end up with thousands of dollars in costs. In fact FICO credit scores heavily penalize cardholders who pay late.

4. Just ask. If you do miss a payment or you are late, some banks are willing to lower your interest rate or waive a fee. You just have to call them and ask nicely. Really. It happens all the time!Try this script to get yourself started.

5. Reader’s Digest says “Any fees or overdraft loans that you owe can be deducted from your next deposit.”

6. Beware of the universal default clause. There is a clause that applies to bank-issued credit cards. It states the bank is allowed to browse through all of your open credit accounts and if you’ve paid any of them late, they have the right to raise the interest rate on its card, or even worse, cancel it. You should avoid opening a bank-issued card that has this clause.

7. Closed Checking Accounts Can Come Back To Bite You.  Inspirational Day warns, ‘Cancel all your automatic deductions’. Many people close their checking account, and then neglect to change their automatic deductions. Not only does this result in a late fee to the merchant that tried to deduct the money you owe for a bit, but the bank will charge you a penalty for the returned payment as well.

There’s a lot to learn to be a savvy customer of the banks and a smart consumer. One Percent is here to help you get through the maze and come out with your pocket book intact. Look for more advice about how to make your way to a financially secure future.

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