Beating bank fees

The first step to avoid any sneaky bank charges is to be aware of the common fees that can eat away from your monthly bank balance. Here's a list of the charges that you need to watch out for:

Monthly bank fees. Some banks charge a monthly fee of about $4-$6 for simply maintaining your account. Fortunately, there are a number of banks and financial institutions that offer accounts with no account keeping fee. 

ATM fees. Your bank will have a network of fee-free ATMs, but if you withdraw cash from an out-of-network ATM, you'll need to pay an extra $2.50. That's why it's important to look for a bank that comes with a wide network of ATMs. 

International ATM charges. If you withdraw cash from an ATM while you’re abroad, you'll have to cough up an international ATM withdrawal fee of between $2-$5 for every withdrawal. 

International transaction charges. Are you planning to use your debit card for online shopping from a store overseas? Then remember that you may need to may an overseas transaction fees of between 2-3%. 

Over the counter transaction fees. When you make an assisted transaction in a bank branch or through phone banking, you may be required to pay a fee of about $2. Similarly, any cheque written by you and negotiated through the clearing system may also incur an extra fee.

Dishonour fee. This refers to the fee that you'll need to pay if any transaction on your account is dishonoured because of insufficient cleared funds in the account. This is usually between $5-$10 and applies to payments made via cheques, direct debit and regular scheduled transactions.

Mozo's Top 5 Bank Fee Busters

With some simple planning and smart money management you can easily avoid paying bank fees.

  • 1. Ask for a loyalty rebate. Having a bank account, credit card and high interest account (for example) all with the same institution should entitle you to lower or no monthly fees.
  • 2. Negotiate a better deal. Banks seem scary and institutional, but if the competition is offering a better deal, use this to get a reduction on services like your monthly fee and transaction charges.
  • 3. Avoid features you don't use. Don't pay extra charges for features you don't really need to use. This includes issuing cheques, branch access, etc.
  • 4. Avoid features you pay to use. For instance, get cash out when making an EFTPOS purchase to minimise transactions.
  • 5. Find a fee-free bank account. Many banks offer to waive the extra charges as long as your fulfil certain conditions like maintaining a minimum balance in your account. While the wrong account can cost $100 a year or more, the right account can save you a bundle. Check out our quick bank account comparison now for the best bank deals.

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