Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Better banking means smart banking for your family. Take advantage of all that your bank has to offer.
Many savings banks have gone back to the kind of rates our parents used to receive. However, some banks offer a higher rate of interest if a certain minimum balance is kept in your savings account. Check with your bank to see if they have a special savings plan that allows you to earn a higher rate of interest. If they do and you meet the requirements it is worth the trouble to transfer to the account where you earn more money. If you don't have the required minimum, make it a goal to attain the minimum and make your money work harder.
Check with your bank to see if they have reduced or no monthly charges for certain savings accounts. Remember every time you are not charged a bank fee your family saves money.
If your bank has 24 hour telephone or online access to your account, be sure to use this service. You can check your checking account for outstanding checks, checking account balances, non-check withdrawals, etc. at a time that is convenient to you.
Some banks now charge if your checking account goes below a certain level. Keep an eye on your balance. You can't keep money if you are paying bank fees because you have a low balance. If you have a problem staying at your banks minimum balance, think about changing to one where there is no minimum dollar amount.
Check to see if your bank prints new checks free, especially if you are 55+. Many banks offer that service for seniors or those 55 and older.
Use your ATM card with caution; try to use your banks system where fees will be free or lower than other banks. Remember that most ATM's have a limit as to how much money you can withdraw at one time and how many times you can withdraw funds in a day or week. If you need a substantial amount, go to your bank, withdraw the money in a lump sum and bypass the withdrawal fee.
Carrying your debit card at all times is like carrying your bank book around with you. Think of your debit card as cash, and use it wisely. Impulse buying and debit cards can be lethal to the life of your bank account. It might be wiser to use your credit card and pay the full balance at the end of the month.
Online Paying by Various Carts or Baskets:
If you use shopping baskets, i.e. PayPal, etc., that take money directly from your checking account, be sure to make note of the date, amount, store and item in your check book immediately after the transaction. Instead of a check number entry, enter 'N/A', for not applicable, along with the date and the item purchased, plus the name of the shopping basket. This will serve as a reminder of what you have purchased and how you paid for the item. The N/A entry in the number slot reminds you that this was not a paper check transaction and will help to keep your checks from bouncing.
And finally, get a safety deposit box to safeguard valuable documents. You can have a co-signer. These boxes are well worth the small fee. If you think you have no need for a bank box, think about those old series EE bonds, your marriage license, divorce decree, birth certificates, etc. Don't forget about small family keepsakes that cannot be replaced. Keep precious original documents in your safety deposit box and keep copies at home.