- Depending on where you bank and your history with the bank, you may be eligible for money-saving perks you didn’t know about.
- Many banks will forgive overdraft fees, waive early-withdrawal fees on investments, and find ways to make your credit card debt more manageable.
- You may also qualify for perks if you’re opening a new account, and many banks offer free or reduced-fee access to cultural attractions for customers.
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More than just safe places to store your cash, banks are businesses – which means they offer customers products, services, and other perks you might not be aware of.
Depending on where you bank – and how long you’ve been banking there – you may be missing out on some great opportunities to save (or, in some cases, earn) money.
Curious about how you can take better advantage of all your bank has to offer? Here are a few things you may not know your bank can do for you.
Forgive overdraft fees
If you’ve ever overdrafted your checking account, then you know overdraft fees can be a source of major frustration. The good news is, most banks will waive fees like this if you ask.
“In cases where you have an overdraft or other unexpected fee on your account, always make sure to call your bank and discuss it,” suggests Lou Haverty, a certified financial advisor. “Explain that you weren’t expecting the fee, and let them know you were otherwise happy with the service you received. Many banks will give you a one-time fee waiver as a courtesy.”
You probably already know that mobile banking makes a quick transfer or debit card balance check convenient – but text banking offers a whole separate level of ease that doesn’t require you to sign into an app.
Some banks offer the option of accessing account information, checking balances due on credit cards, and even transferring money between your accounts at that bank via secure text message.
If you have text banking, you may also be able to receive fraud alerts directly to your phone.
Help you pay off high-interest debts
There’s nothing worse than throwing money out the window on credit cards with excessive interest. If you’re drowning in high-interest debt, your bank may be able to help by offering you a personal loan at a lower rate.
Not only does consolidating credit card payments make paying off debt more convenient, you could also save a considerable amount of money on interest in the long run.
Match interest rates
Your local hardware store isn’t the only place that will match prices to keep you coming back. To retain customers, banks will often match or exceed a rate you receive elsewhere.
Haverty recommends getting at least two quotes whenever you plan to use a bank product, like a loan or credit card. Just go into the higher-priced bank and let your banker know you received a better option elsewhere.
Automate your savings
Automating savings is a great way to make a habit of investing. Whether you want to set up a $1 deposit into your savings every time you swipe your debit card or automatically transfer money from one account to another on a monthly basis, the majority of banks will accommodate your request for an automatic transfer, according to Kevin Panitch, founder of Just Start Investing.
Waive early withdrawal fees
If you have to withdraw early from a CD or pay a loan off early, most banks charge a penalty fee. But Rob Stephens, founder of CFO Perspective, says if a bank knows you can get a better CD or loan rate somewhere else, they’ll often be willing to waive fees to keep your business.
“Most bank staff really do want to provide you with the best rates and lowest fees. It pays to treat them respectfully and allow them to work with you to identify the best products and pricing for you,” Stephens says.
Lower your monthly payments
There’s no reason you should be penalized for going through a difficult time with your finances, and in many cases, your bank can help you set up a loan or credit card payment plan that works for you.
On top of waiving fees and forgiving penalties, finance coach Carlos Then says your bank can lower your monthly payments so they’re a bit more manageable. Some banks will also connect you with a credit counselor to talk through your credit card debt and options for repaying it.
Give you perks when you open an account
Looking for incentives when you open up an account? “Most banks offer extra perks and incentives if their employer has a pre-existing relationship with the bank,” says personal finance blogger Nermeen Ghneim. “This is known as WorkPlace Banking and can result in an additional $150 or more in your pocket.” Ask your banker if WorkPlace Banking is an option for you.
Allow you to freeze your debit card
While not as common, Ghneim says a few banks can offer you the ability to freeze your debit card and put limits on spending categories.
“This is an excellent feature for parents who want to get their children prepped for using credit cards but still enforce financial boundaries,” he says.
Provide free access to cultural attractions
Who knew you didn’t have to pay full price for museums, zoos, and aquariums? Some banks offer account holders free general admission to attractions on specific days of the month.
To learn more about admission perks (and all the other services your bank might have to offer), ask a banker at your local branch or call the bank’s customer service line.