Bank card fees vary from account to account. Before opening one, it's important to understand which fees you might expect. Here are some to consider:
- ATM transactions. If you use an ATM outside your bank's network, you may be charged a few dollars per transaction. Try to locate an ATM for your bank or a surcharge-free machine. If you plan to travel, withdraw cash at your bank ahead of time.
- Low minimum balance. Some accounts require you to maintain a certain amount. If you dip below — even temporarily — you could be charged. Avoid this by keeping sufficient funds in your account, or switch to an account that doesn't require a minimum balance.
- Account inactivity. Idle accounts are sometimes subject to fees. If you don't use the account often, move your funds to one with less restriction. Or avoid the fee by scheduling a regular monthly transaction to keep it active.
- Closing fees. If you close an account, your bank may charge you a fee. Ask whether the bank can waive it, particularly if you open a new account with the same institution.
- Debit card transactions. Debit cards sometimes impose a fee on each transaction. Review your statements carefully and determine if you can pay any expenses a different way.
- Foreign transactions. Check to see if your card charges a fee for each transaction you make overseas. (This might include an online purchase from an overseas-based company.) If so, consider using a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, or use cash or travelers checks.
- Paper statements. Some banks may charge if you request paper statements instead of getting them via email.
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