Are you losing your hard earned money due to fees and charges from your bank?
It seems ironic that the place where we put our money to try and keep it safe is one of the places that try and hit us with the most hidden charges and overinflated fees.
The sad reality is that banking is not free, nor is it cheap and if you want to truly protect your money, you have to know how to continue doing so even once it has been placed into your account.
Talk to your branch
The best way to know what your bank is charging you for is to talk face-to-face with a member of staff at your local branch. Request a meeting and have them lay all their cards on the table; from monthly fees to direct debits and from what your overdraft is to your rate of interest, knowing all the facts is the best way to make informed decisions about how to save money; be it switching to a different account, negotiating different rates or cancelling payments you no longer need to be making.
Monitor your accounts
The sooner you flag up a fraudulent or suspicious charge, the greater the likelihood that your bank will be able to resolve the issue. Never assume your money is safe once it’s in the bank; from identity theft to internet scams and even the banks themselves, there are many ways your money could be targeted so be sure to monitor everything that comes in and out of your accounts to make sure it is all above board.
Decline unwanted extras
Banks will often try and tempt you with extra features when you take out a new account or policy with them. These often offer few benefits but cost a lot of money and so unless you do extensive research to confirm its value beforehand, decline any extras, especially Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), which many people found themselves paying for without due want or use for it.
Reclaim false charges
From cheques bouncing due to insufficient funds to dipping into your overdraft or using your card abroad; hidden fees are waiting to catch us out all the time. The good news is that even if you fall into their traps it doesn’t have to mean forfeiting your cash, as you can make a claim to be reimbursed. If you feel the charge was unjust or too extensive given the situation, you can write a formal letter to your bank requesting they re-evaluate their decision. You certainly won’t receive compensation if you don’t ask, so by this stage you have nothing to lose.
Even in the case of PPI, it is never too late to make a claim. If you believe you fall into the category of mis-selling, then help is available to guide you towards reimbursement.
Make free withdrawals
Believe it or not, most banks will actually try and charge us for taking our own money out of our accounts. Always make sure the ATM machines you use state that they offer free withdrawals or else you could find yourself with a charge higher than the amount you even wanted to withdraw.
Never be afraid to switch accounts or even to a different bank altogether if you believe you have found a better deal elsewhere. Especially considering introductory offers for new customers, you really can find some bargains and excellent interest rates if you go looking; it’s amazing how many people stick with the same bank purely out of habit.
|Written on 7/24/2013 by Gladstone Brookes. This post was written by Gladstone Brookes, a UK based PPI reclaiming service that takes care of all the leg work on behalf of consumers. At a success rate of 87%, they have already won back over £34 million from banks this year alone.|
Photo Credit: Howard Lake