When it’s crunch time and you need to make every cent count the last thing you can afford is those unneccessary bank charges. If it seems as though you can’t quite put your finger on why your bank charges are what they are when checking your statement every month, it is possible that you either don’t have the best banking account that suits your transacting needs or may have adopted behaviour that is costing you a bit more.
Ryan Prozesky, CEO of FNB Value Banking Solutions, says in principle, choosing an ideal banking account for your needs, keeping abreast of fees and knowing what value you are getting from your bank should help you avoid unnecessary bank charges.
He shares ten tips on how to save on banking charges:
- Choosing the right account – never choose a bank account merely on its monthly administration costs, rather base the decision on your transacting needs to avoid incurring additional charges. For example, on a pay as you use structured account you may be charged extra everytime you make a transaction, while on a bundle offering you are able to perform multiple or unlimited transactions without incurring additional charges. A pay as you use structure would be best suited for a customer with a low number of monthly transactions, while bundle offerings are best suited for those with a higher number of monthly transactions. Make sure that you chose a bundle with the most appropriate number of transactions included in the bundle, based on your monthly transactional needs.
- Avoid using another bank’s ATM – avoid withdrawing money at an ATM belonging to another bank as the costs are higher than using your bank’s one.
- Bank on digital channels – whenever possible try and use digital and electronic channels for transactions as these are usually free or attract lower costs compared to using a bank branch. In addition, digital channels offer you the convenience of performing your banking anywhere anytime; thereby saving you time and money by avoiding travelling to a branch.
- Swiping your card – instead of withdrawing cash to purchase necessities rather swipe your card as it is safer than carrying cash. Check whether your bank offers unlimited card swipes at no additional charge regardless of the amount. In addition, most banks’ loyalty programs give customers rewards back for swiping their card.
“FNB transactional accounts offer a free eBucks reward linkage, enabling you to get something extra back at no additional cost. If you really do need cash, why not add it to your grocery list and withdraw from selected retailer till points. This transaction is usually cheaper than withdrawing from an ATM. FNB offers Cash@till via Shoprite, Checkers, U-Save, Pick ‘n Pay, Boxer, PEP and selected Spar stores,” says Prozesky.
- Avoid penalty charges – always make sure there is sufficient money in your account to cover all purchases and transactions you make. This will help you from incurring penalty charges when transactions fail.
- Overdraft facility fees – An overdraft facility helps meet those unexpected cashflow shortfalls and will help you avoid penalty fees due to insufficient funds. Although FNB only charges customers for having an overdraft facility when they use it, other banks may charge you a monthly fee for merely having the facility, even if you don’t use it.
- Bank Statements – if you have an email address, request your bank to rather email your statement to you instead of posting them. Not only will they arrive much sooner, but you will avoid any charges for postal statements that some banks may levy. If you need to check your transaction history, make use of your bank’s digital channels to view your balance, transaction history or download your recent statements for free.
“FNB now allows customers to download or email themselves their previous three month’s bank statements for free from the FNB App, Cellphone Banking and Online Banking. If you need a physical copy of your bank statements avoid high fees by requesting these in branch; rather see if your bank offers the ability to print statements at selected ATM machines. FNB offers you the ability to print your last three month’s statements at over 900 ATMs with Deposit machines around the country,” says Prozesky.
- Take care of bank cards – be extra cautious with your bank cards as some banks will usually charge you a fee for replacing them.
- Monthly caps – exceeding monthly caps for certain transactions may attract additional fees. For example, on certain account bundles, your bank may offer you a number or value of ATM withdrawals for free, with additional charges as soon as you exceed the limit.
Lastly, don’t ignore communication from your bank. “Banks often review their account fees annually offering you a breakdown of changes and adjustments. It’s important to thoroughly go through and understand these fee changes and how they impact the way you transact on a monthly basis,” concludes Prozesky.