Running your bank account doesn't need to cost so much – in actual fact, if you stay in the clear and use your cards carefully, you might even pay just shy of next to nothing at all. However, you can rack up high charges very quickly if you go over your limits. From overdraft fees, transaction fees, charges for refused debit orders, cash withdrawal fees, foreign transaction fees, same-day bank transfer fees, and a whole bunch of other costs, you might be thinking; will it ever end?
Let’s take a look at the Ins and Outs of Banking fees and Why we Pay them.
Banks love to provide services that make our lives easier. Perhaps the only thing they love more is charging us all sorts of fees for these services. If you want to put money into your account from an ATM, the bank will charge you. If you want to take it out? The bank will charge you. Want to send money to a family member’s account? Oh! - You better believe it, the bank will charge you. But - banks do provide an important service, but it's necessary to remember they don't do it for free - and most of us don't really notice what our banks charge for these services. Banks provide an indispensable service - they keep our hard earned cash in a safe place and provide us with the convenience of accessing it anytime and anywhere. So we can’t expect them to do it for free, it is after all how they keep ball rolling.
What influence does the Global Debt Crisis have?
As South Africa experiences the effects of a global debt crisis and a frail Rand, you can expect everyday goods and services to get more expensive, but rest assured, they always have and always will, thanks to inflation and the cost of debt. Regardless of conventional wisdom, what goes up doesn't always come down, and that's especially true when you're talking about bank fees. Thus, the debt crisis does play a role, but remember, banks have already set their fees for 2016 and they will remain fixed until next year when they release their new pricing plans. So your banking fees are fixed for the year (this year at least). But, you can expect the debt crisis to have greater influences on interest rates i.e. the cost of borrowing money from your bank!
The best thing you can do to limit the fees you pay is to shop around. Look at several banks and get a schedule of the fees they charge and spend a few minutes figuring out which one offers the best deal. Here’s a nifty post from BusinessTech that will help you. In addition, keep good records and analyze your monthly account statement to see what you’re being charged. That way, if an unexpected fee shows up, you'll be aware of it, and you won't get hit with it the following month.
Banks provide a tremendous service, and our economy probably couldn't function without them. However, their services aren't free. The best protection is to be aware of the fees you are paying and not to blindly accept them. Remember that your bank is a business; if you don't like the fees you are paying, you can always take your money to the competition.