The fact is that banking is a necessary part of living in our modern society. There are a number of mistakes that you should avoid when dealing with banks. Some of these mistakes are relatively small while others have some fairly big consequences. The smarter you are when dealing with banks, the less likely you will be to find yourself in a nightmare situation at some point. Banks can be a great thing, but only if you know how to make them work for you.
Not Opting for Automatic Bill Payment
Believe it or not, there are still quite a few people who pay their bills manually, and it’s a terrible idea. If you don’t have automatic bill payment set up, you should do so immediately. Paying your bills manually is a good way to forget about not making important payments on time. There is absolutely no point in doing more work than you have to.
Using the Same Bank for Both Accounts
You should always try to keep your checking and savings accounts at different financial institutions. This can help reduce the temptation to overspend, which is something that a lot of people have a very real problem with. Many people end up using their savings account to buy things on a regular basis, but that is not what it is for. When you keep your accounts separate, you will avoid this issue.
Overlooking the Smaller Banks
If you are in the process of looking for a new bank to keep your money at, don’t forget to consider some of the smaller ones in your area. While most people gravitate towards the bigger financial institutions, they are certainly not the only options available. The more time you spend researching your bank options, the better off you will be in the end. Sometimes smaller banks have fewer fees and rules that can help you save money.
Going After the Highest Rate
Some people switch banks frequently because they want to get a better rate for their account, but this can be a huge mistake. The fact is that going to another bank usually isn’t worth it, especially if you are only getting an additional half percent interest. It is better to stay with one bank and build a long term relationship with them. The longer you have had a positive relationship with your bank, the more likely they will be to help you out when you need it.
Not Reading the Fine Print
Another huge mistake to avoid making is not looking over the contract you sign when signing up with a certain bank. There are actually quite a few important things in the fine print that you will want to know about, including any fees you may need to pay in the future. Make sure that you read every word of the contract before giving your signature.
Spending Money to Maintain Your Account
If you are spending any amount of money to maintain a checking account, you are making a big mistake. You should never pay to have a bank account, and there are plenty of places you can go that won’t charge you a monthly or annual fee. This is one of the more common banking mistakes that people make, and we can’t really blame them. These days it seems like you have to pay for a checking account, but the truth is you don’t. If you are currently paying for a checking account, start looking into some of your other options immediately.
Not Regularly Checking Your Transactions
You should always make a point of regularly checking your transactions through your checking account. By doing this you will be able to stay on top of how much you are spending, and you’ll know right away if you are a victim of identity theft. Log into your account through your bank’s website at least once every couple of days to do this. It is very easy to spend too much when we don’t look at our transactions. If you want to avoid this issue, all you have to do is take a look. It will only take a minute or two, and it’s well worth it overall.
Importance of Security
Some of the biggest banking mistakes people make is related to matters of security. Make sure that you have very strong passwords for all of your accounts. This will make it much more difficult for others to access your accounts online. You should also be very careful about who you give out certain information to, including your bank account number and debit PIN. These details can easily be used to steal your identity and rack up tons of unauthorized charges using your account. The more security-conscious you are, the fewer mistakes you are going to make.