The biggest challenge most Australians face at the moment is making their income stretch a little bit further to meet their rising household costs. Wage growth has been slow over the last few years, so anything that helps cut expenses can free up cash for other things in life. To help you start making some simple savings, here are three tips to reduce the bank fees you may be currently paying.
1. Get an account with no or low fees and charges
One of the easiest ways to save money on bank fees is to get an everyday transaction account that doesn’t charge any monthly account keeping fees or any transaction fees. These fees can really add up over time and put a dint in your savings. Look for an account with no monthly fees and unlimited fee-free transactions. You’ll also save money on overdrawn account fees if you ensure there’s always enough money in your account to pay bills that are direct debited.
2. Consolidate your accounts
If you’re like many people, you may have a number of transaction accounts at different banks. Each account could be getting charged fees and slowly chipping away at the balance. To avoid paying multiple fees, consolidate your accounts into one that doesn’t charge monthly fees and charges. Make sure your account also gives you access to your money online, instore and on the go.
3. Watch out for ATM and EFTPOS fees
Another opportunity to save on bank fees is when you’re withdrawing cash. Unfortunately, there are thousands of ATMs that charge high fees for a simple withdrawal. To see if there are ATM charges, look for a message onscreen about fees, then consider searching for another ATM that’s nearby that won’t charge you. Most mobile banking apps have a branch or ATM finder feature. Of course, using your smartphone or card to Tap and Pay for purchases has become so popular there’s no reason to carry cash at all. Plus, you can always get extra cash out with your shopping if you need, to avoid using ATMs altogether.
Another place where you may be hit with fees or surcharges is when you make purchases on EFTPOS machines. Before you swipe or tap, look out for any signs indicating that there is an EFTPOS surcharge or merchant fee that could add a couple of per cent to the cost. If there are fees, consider paying cash for your purchase.
Once you’ve started saving on bank fees and charges, make sure your money is working harder by putting it into a linked savings account. Transaction accounts rarely pay competitive interest on balances, so consider opening a savings account with the same bank to enable faster transfers. Some transaction accounts even reward you with bonus interest on a linked savings account, just for making regular deposits each month. One way to start making regular deposits is using a top-up feature, where a set amount is debited from your transaction account every time you spend, and deposited into a savings account. It’s saving while you’re spending.
Saving money on bank fees can be a simple exercise and could free up more cash for your household expenses, or to put towards your savings goals.