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Learn how to identify the most common “hidden fees” and how to avoid them.

March 13, 2017

Many different financial institutions and companies include hidden fees in an attempt to make more money off of the customer throughout the year. Also, consumers are often unaware of the extra charges and fail to investigate each part of their bill during the year. To learn how to identify the most common hidden fees and how to avoid them, there are a few important tips to follow for proper money management.

Foreign Transaction Fees

You may be charged extra fees when making purchases with a foreign bank, often a percentage of the purchase. Those who make an expensive purchase may be charged a high fee while traveling abroad. This can add up while during a vacation. Instead, research different cards that do not include foreign transaction fees.

Maintenance Fees

Many people unknowingly pay for maintenance fees each month with easy-to-meet requirements that can make the extra charge avoidable. Contact your bank to determine how to waive the fees. Also, consider closing the account and switching your funds to a more reputable bank like Bank of the James.

Hard Copy Statement Fees

Banks sometimes charge a hard copy statement fee when you request old statements that pertain to your accounts. You may need to pay an average of $3 to $5 when requesting copies of deposit slips, checks, or statements. Research fees can also be added on due to the number of hours it takes to find certain forms from your history with the bank.

ATM Fees

ATM fees can be costly when you need to withdraw cash. Furthermore, charges continue to increase each year. Make sure you understand these fees, and use ATMs accordingly.

Returned Deposit Charges

Returned deposit charges are added on when a check has been returned. Often, the check could not be processed due to insufficient funds, a missing signature, or a closed account. Avoid the charge by researching your bank's rules ahead of time to ensure that you are not penalized for the mistake.

Lost Card Fees

Many banks charge $7 to $20 to replace a lost card. You can avoid the fee by signing up for an account through banks like Bank of the James. The added convenience will also allow you to save more money.

Minimum Balance Fees

Many banks offer rewards or cash to new customers. Additionally, some banks guarantee various incentives to grow their business. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of signing up for a new account without realizing that they must maintain a minimum balance each month to avoid extra fees. Read the fine print. Then, sign up for a basic account that will allow you to avoid unnecessary charges for more flexibility with your balance.

Overdraft Fees

Overdraft fees are extremely common with most banks but can be avoided by signing up for online accounts to monitor your spending each day. You can also sign up for overdraft protection to ensure that the money is withdrawn from your savings account to avoid getting charged.

Bank Confidently

With these tips, you’ll have better control over your finances. Check your accounts regularly and discuss the hidden fees with your bank. At Bank of the James, we don’t add hidden fees and are always available to review account questions with our customers.

Keep your budget and financial goals organized.