4 Habits That Reduce Your Bank Account Balance

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KEY POINTS

  • Some habits cost us money -- but it's possible to develop new routines to improve our financial health.
  • Operating without any cash, not keeping a minimum balance in your account, and forgetting to check on your auto-pay settings can all cost you.

Are you indulging these habits?

Many of us develop habits without realizing it, and those habits become part of our everyday routine. But not all patterns of behavior are good for us, and if we're not aware that they exist, they can be challenging to break. Switching up your routine is possible once you're aware of the changes you need to make. Here are some habits that could reduce your bank account balance.

1. Not having cash on hand

It's not uncommon to stumble upon a retailer or restaurant that only accepts cash as payment. Of course, even with good planning, this can sometimes come as a surprise.

If you show up to a cash-only establishment without cash, you may have no choice but to use a nearby out-of-network ATM. Unless your bank reimburses you for these fees, it can be costly. Luckily, you can take steps to avoid ATM fees. By getting into the habit of keeping a bit of extra cash in your wallet, you can save money.

2. Forgetting to review auto bill pay settings

Setting up auto-payments is good practice if you're a forgetful person. After all, paying your bills late can harm your credit score. But don't forget to check-in on your auto bill pay settings.

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It's a good idea to review your auto-pay settings occasionally -- especially if you pay some of your bills directly through your bank account. If you're not careful, you may forget about a previously scheduled payment, which could negatively impact your bank account balance.

Reviewing your auto payments is also good practice because it can remind you to pause or cancel the accounts you're no longer using or don't plan to use anytime soon. When you continue to pay for services that you don't use, you waste money.

3. Ignoring minimum account balance requirements

Many banks establish minimum balance requirements for their bank accounts. If you don't keep enough money in your bank account to meet the minimum balance requirements, you may be charged a bank account maintenance fee. Pay attention to these requirements and review your bank statements to see if you're paying these fees.

Beyond maintaining the minimum balance amount, your bank may outline other ways to avoid this fee, such as setting up direct deposit or by maintaining multiple bank accounts. Another way to avoid losing money is by banking with a company that doesn't charge maintenance fees. If you ignore this, and continue to pay this fee, your bank balance will be reduced.

4. Using your debit card while traveling internationally

While traveling internationally, using a debit card isn't the best move for your bank account. That's because your bank likely charges foreign transaction fees. Every time you use your card to buy something in a foreign currency, you'll be charged extra fees, and your checking account balance will be lower than it needs to be.

For frequent travelers, the best practice is to get a travel credit card with no foreign transaction fees and then use that card while traveling internationally. You'll save money by doing this. Plus, with a solid travel rewards credit card, you can earn rewards when you pay for travel expenses.

Create new habits that benefit your wallet

We're all continuing to learn as we navigate our personal finance journeys. If you have some habits that you've developed that are costing you money, it's never too late to make changes. You may be able to keep more money in your bank account by switching up your routine. Take a look at these personal finance resources for additional helpful tips.

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Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Rate info Circle with letter I in it. 4.25% annual percentage yield as of July 21, 2024

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