If you only do one small thing for your finances this year, could you make sure it’s to leave your terrible old bank that’s still charging you fees out the wazoo?
It is 2020—the future!–and banks have become so advanced that you don’t even need to go there to do stuff. You can deposit checks on your phone. Transfer money with a click. Some banks are even like “branches are so last century, let’s do it all online to save everyone time and money” and don’t even have buildings or tellers or lollipops.
So why are you still paying bank fees at that crusty bank you’ve been using since you were 16?
Lest you think fees have been eradicated by our benevolent financial firms, please note that the average checking account holder pays $US7.69 ($11) per month in fees, including ATM and overdraft fees. That’s according to a survey released by Bankrate this week. While the survey is based out of the U.S., it likely reflects a global problem.
On top of that, the average U.S. adult was found to have had the same primary checking account for about 14 years. Twenty-one per cent of respondents said they’ve used their checking account for 21-50 years! Even millennials, who have a shorter banking history, reported keeping their checking accounts for about nine years.
Millennials are also the age bracket that pays the most for fees, coming in at an average of $US12.80 ($19) per month. (I am sorry, my peers. This is not a good look for us.)
When Bankrate asked people why they stuck with their bank for so long, the top reasons included good customer service, low or no fees, and convenience. But the write-in responses were where the truth was confessed, with answers like “my parents signed me up as a kid” and my personal favourite, “inertia.” The honesty!
I get it. Switching banks is a pain. After you research a better place to stash your cash, you have to actually move that money to its safe new home. And then you have to close your old account, which might mean (gasp!) speaking with an actual human being.
But think of the long-term benefits of this temporary hassle. Switch banks and you won’t have to pay $US15 ($22) per month any more for the privilege of allowing the bank to access your money while you store it in your account. You won’t pay ATM fees of upward of $US6 ($9) for using a competitor’s machine. You might earn more than 0.0% interest on your money. Honestly, any of these would be a big plus, let alone a trifecta.
Here is our guide to switching banks. Allow us to hold your hand (virtually) through this process. It’s time to leave all those sneaky bank fees behind, once and for all.