Don’t get bitten by bank fees.
Last year, banks made more than $2 billion from fees and commissions. But, by making sure you’ve got the right account and aren’t missing out on any exemptions, you can ensure your bank’s bark is worse than its bite.
Your everyday banking account probably charges you either a monthly base fee, transaction fees or both. Transaction fees cover services such as using an ATM, paying by eftpos, or making automatic payments or direct debits. They also include manual transactions involving a staff member – either in a branch or over the phone.
These accounts may also hit you up for other services, such as changing an automatic payment, text-messaging services, or arranging an overdraft facility.
Banks typically charge dishonour or penalty fees when an automatic payment or direct debit fails, or fees when an account goes into unapproved overdraft.
Ask if you qualify for any fee exemptions – the bank will ditch these charges if you meet certain criteria.
If you have a mortgage with your bank, you should be able to haggle to pay no fees. You should also be exempt if you have term deposits or a decent amount of savings. Regular deposits or minimum monthly account balances can also strengthen your case to get fees scrapped.
You may also get an exemption if you’re a child, student, new graduate, new to the workforce or are over 65. Sometimes these come with a proviso, such as having your NZ Super payments paid into your account.
Our tips for avoiding monthly and transaction fees: