4 Ways to Eliminate Bank Fees for Good

A woman using an ATM on a sunny street.

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Don't waste your money on fees when a few simple tricks can help you avoid them.

Bank fees may seem like a part of life, but the reality is that they're often an avoidable waste of money -- and they can add up to more than you think.

If you don't want to waste your hard-earned dollars on paying fees to your bank, these four simple tricks can help.

1. Choose the right account

Some bank accounts come with more fees than others. When you're shopping for the right bank account, consider the costs it comes with as a top factor. Prioritize accounts that come with the lowest fees and the lowest number of fees.

Some of the fees to be on the lookout for include:

  • Monthly maintenance costs
  • Minimum balance fees
  • Charges for a certain number of transactions
  • ATM fees
  • Charges for hard copies of statements
  • Foreign transaction fees
  • Fees for checks
  • Charges for a lost debit card
  • Inactivity fees
  • Fees for closing accounts
  • Overdraft costs

2. Direct deposit your paychecks

Many banks that charge account maintenance fees are willing to waive them if you direct deposit your paychecks. If you can arrange for direct deposit, you may have a wider choice of accounts that won't hit you with a monthly service charge.

3. Keep a cushion in your account

Overdraft fees and returned check fees are two of the most common types to watch out for. Many banks that impose minimum balance fees will charge you if you try to take too much out of your bank account or if you write a check you can't cover.

To avoid these fees, keep extra money in your account. That way, if funds come out for a bill you forgot about -- or if people wait a while to cash a check you've given them -- you won't end up with your account going negative.

Ideally, it's best to keep around $1,000 or more in extra money in your account so you're prepared for even large expenses. But the exact amount of the cushion you need depends on how much you earn, as well as the size of the unexpected expenses you're likely to encounter. You might be able to get away with a few hundred dollars as a cushion, but if you write a lot of large checks or make big card transactions, then you may need more.

4. Know the ATM rules

ATM fees are also very common -- and you might get charged by both your own bank and the bank operating the ATM you're using.

Make sure you know which cash machines you can take money out of without being charged a fee. And if you regularly find yourself using random ATMs rather than machines your bank participates in, look for an account that reimburses at least some ATM fees.

By taking these four steps, hopefully you can remove bank fees from your life for good. This will leave you with more cash for the fun things in your life.

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