Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mishaps in Money: Fined by my bank. :'(

It was a sad moment.

I pride myself on being on top of things, especially when it comes to money.

So when I got fined by my bank, it was a confusing and embarrassing experience. 

I called the bank and asked them why they charged me, and they explained. I am only allowed to withdraw three times from my savings account a month, and apparently I had exceeded that limit by 3. That incurred a fee of $12, so $4 per withdrawal. 

My mistake with withdrawing too often happened because I decided to use $25 a week from my savings account to buy shares in a mutual fund. (I'm still not sure why I felt this had to be done). The service I invest with would automatically transfer the money, and I didn't realize that there were limits on how often you could withdraw from my savings account (for any purpose). 

There are three things that I learned. 

1) Making things automatic is great. 

It's easy to save if you just automatically deposit a part of your paycheck into your bank account. It's easy to invest if you automatically buy shares (this is also great for a strategy called "dollar-cost averaging," which we'll talk about later). It's easy to pay bills (on time, and you won't have to remember). 

One thing to watch out for is making sure that you have enough money to cover any automatic transfers. If you set up an automatic bill pay, for example, but don't have enough in your checking account to cover it, you could end up getting fined a hefty amount. 

2) Always read the "Fees" section of any account you open. 

Know what fees you could incur and how much the fees are. The most common ones are fees for not meeting the required minimum balance, and withdrawing too often from certain accounts (for example, like my savings account. 

3) You can negotiate fees. 

When I called the bank, I asked them if they would waive the fee because I've had the account for almost 2 years without a single strike. They agreed, and I got $12 back in about a minute. I didn't even have to cry or beg. 

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As always, contact me with questions or suggestions! You can either comment directly on the post or send me an email to moneymattersjoan@gmail.com. 

photo credit: jainaj via photopin cc

2 comments:

  1. Heh, I tried to negotiate a fee I got once for not using my debit card the minimum number per month, but it took like half an hour on the phone/net before I got it done. Stupid Citizens Bank :(

    Are there any particularly good banks you'd recommend across America/internationally where they'll be readily available for me to withdraw from? When I leave my area, I want a bank that I can still find and use on the West Coast/China/wherever.

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    1. You should read the fine print here, but I highly recommend this checking account because of all of its features.

      http://content.schwab.com/m/q310/schwab_bank_high_yield_investor_checking/ELC44427C-02.html

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