Let’s face it. Nobody loves fees. Thankfully, one of the ways you can help prevent unwanted fees is pretty simple: by keeping an eye on your bank account activity.
Remembering to check your monthly statements can be a difficult habit to form. Luckily, you really don’t have to wait for your statements to be released nowadays. Online banking makes it easy to monitor your recent account activity at any time. You can even choose to get email or text alerts when transactions clear. Keeping an eye on your spending can help you stay on budget and avoid non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees.
Dormant Account Fees
Knowing what’s going on in your account can also help you avoid dormant account fees. A dormant account is one which hasn’t had any activity within a certain amount of time (commonly between 6-12 months). Many financial institutions (FIs) will begin charging fees to accounts that have gone dormant. Some accounts go without activity because their accountholders forget about them. Others simply aren’t used often by their owners. By making sure to review your statements, you can avoid forgetting about your account and remember to make a deposit or withdrawal periodically. This will keep the account from going dormant. Additionally, this will prevent your account from being escheated to the state if it remains dormant for an extended period of time.
Another reason to check your account history (even on an account that is used infrequently) is to make sure there are no unfamiliar charges clearing without your knowledge. It’s not uncommon for dormant accounts to go unmonitored by their owners, making them more susceptible to fraud. Though FIs may do all they can to keep their members safe from fraud, it is ultimately the accountholders who know best what they have or have not authorized. Be sure to check out our blog post from last Thursday where we discuss how reviewing your monthly statements can help guard against fraud.
Bad Address Fees
When it comes to staying updated on your account activity, looking at your monthly statements online has a particular advantage: They often display the address your FI has on file for you. If you have moved, this can serve as a good reminder to give the credit union or bank your new address. Some FIs may charge “bad address fees” if they begin receiving returned mail from your old address. Checking your statements can help keep these fees away from your account.
Check with your FI to see what kinds of fees they charge. Many of them have fee schedules accessible on their websites. Review your statements each month to stay updated on your account activity and spending limits. Doing this can help you steer clear of unwanted fees.