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5 Reasons to Keep Banking Costs Down

Keep banking costs down. With planning, you can sidestep some of the more costly fees and penalties. Examples:
1. With credit cards, try to pay the card balance in full each month to avoid interest charges. If you can't pay in full every month, send in as much as possible to keep interest costs to a minimum.
2. In addition, pay your credit card bill on time. One reason is to avoid late fees. Another is that late payments can damage your credit record. If repeated, they could even trigger interest rate increases on your credit cards and loans.
3. With your checking account, avoid fees for insufficient funds and bounced checks. Your bank may offer various "overdraft protection" services for your checking account, but be aware that these come with their own costs. Reynolds added that one of the least expensive options could be to ask your bank to cover insufficient funds by automatically transferring money from your savings account.
4. At the ATM, limit or avoid "surcharges" (access fees) by using your own bank's machines or those owned by institutions that don't charge fees to non-customers. If you definitely need cash when you're out of town or otherwise not near an ATM owned by your bank, consider getting cash back when you use a debit card to make a purchase at a supermarket or another merchant.
5. Don't be afraid to ask for a break. Bounce a check or send in a late payment for the first time ever? Think the fees for your mortgage application are a bit steep? Depending on the circumstances, your bank might be willing to reduce or waive a fee or penalty, especially if you've been a good customer and don't have a history as a "repeat offender."
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