My frugal friend Michelle reminded me of how important it is to check your bank statement.
She sent me this story about her grandfather:
“My grandfather was in the banking business for 45 years and ALWAYS reads his statements carefully. This past week he opened his newest statement to find that there was a $25 service charge on his account. He contacted the local branch and they weren’t sure what the charge was but said they would investigate it and get back to him. They did.
You’ll love what the charge was for: overdraft protection. Even though he has their supposedly “premier” account with all sorts of freebies, the bank was charging him an annual fee for overdraft protection. That’s right, an annual fee. So, in addition to the $35 for EACH overdraft he’d incur, they were charging him $25/year just in case he accidentally overdrew his account.
He was able to get the charge reversed and told them that he was 80 years old and had NEVER overdrawn his account. They weren’t all that impressed, unfortunately.The moral of the story: Read your bank statements carefully AND be sure to choose an account that has the lowest fees/charges possible. You may earn less interest on you money, but the money you don’t earn on interest may be offset by the fees/charges you are not paying for things like overdraft protection, paper statements, minimum daily balance, etc. Most banks/credit unions will not charge you to change the type of account you have, so it’s worth double-checking to make sure you are not getting nickel and dimed to death by your bank.
And, a fun fact: The bank that did this to him was the one he used to own/run just before he retired!!!!!!”
I read this and was thinking about all the people who DON’T check their statements and therefore, never write down the charge in their checkbooks. If you were a person who often had pretty small checking account balances, the annual fee could end up costing you quite a bit of money. Not to mention messing up your credit rating and ruining your reputation with local businesses.
Thanks for the reminder, Michelle. You should always check all your bank/financial statements for hidden charges. You may be paying for something that you don’t want or need.