December 05, 2017 | Posted in:

Bank Smarter in 2018 with These 5 Tips

Banks are a necessary tool to navigate our daily financial lives. Unfortunately, there are aggravating practices at many banks that drive us crazy or cost us money. Here are five tips our CPAs offer to get more out of your bank and pay less.


Tip #1: Stay in network and withdraw from the right place.

Avoid using an ATM machine that is not in your bank’s network. In-network cash withdrawals cost nothing at most banks, but withdrawals from someone else’s machine may come with a $3 to $5 fee.

Action: Turn over your ATM or debit card and note the networks on the back of the card; or ask your bank about their network coverage. Only use ATMs within the network. Test a transaction to ensure no fee is included on your statement.

Another action tip? Associate Partner Rich Middleton, CPA recommends you “request your bank notify you of ATM withdrawals over a prescribed amount to quickly identify fraud risk.”


Tip #2: Notify your credit card issuer when traveling.

Most credit card-issuing banks now automatically freeze your cards when a suspicious transaction occurs out of state. This freeze often includes foreign website transactions.

Action: Call your credit card issuer when you are going to be traveling. Also notify them if you wish to order an item from a foreign website. This can alleviate numerous headaches. While some banks may not block out-of-state transactions, you do not want to have a transaction rejected while purchasing something on a trip.


Adds Rich, “your card issuer can also notify you when charges are made without the presence of a card along with other safety alerts.” One quick alert can help make you aware of a bigger identity theft issue and can lead to a credit freeze to further protect you.


Tip #3: Know your bank’s overdraft rules.

Non-sufficient funds (NSF) checks are not only embarrassing, they are expensive. Banks make millions on their overdraft fees and automatic loan features when you overdraw your account. Understand your bank’s fees and how they apply your payments.

Action: Look for a bank that will allow you to link another account to your checking account without charging a fee. For instance, as a courtesy many credit unions allow you to link a savings account to your core checking account. This link comes into play should you inadvertently overdraw your checking account.


“Consider using electronic banking to pay vendors,” suggests Rich. “Your account balance is easily monitored when generating electronic rather than paper check disbursements.” Visit for more information on digital payment benefits.  


Tip #4: Always negotiate fees.

If you are a long-standing customer with your bank or credit card company, call them to reduce or waive fees. Good examples of this are over-the-limit credit card fees or late payment fees. If you have multiple checking overdraft fees, negotiate to eliminate as many as possible.

Action: If you are late in paying your credit card or have an overdraft, fix the problem as soon as possible. Only after fixing the problem should you call to negotiate the fees. The bank customer service representative will see your quick action and will be more likely to help reduce the fees.


Tip #5: Be willing to shop.

Banks understand the power of inertia. They know it’s a pain to change banks. But if you are willing to do so, you might be surprised to find another option that fits your needs better.

Action: Even interest on savings accounts varies widely from bank to bank. Use the internet to quickly see who is paying what in interest. Do the same for any loans, especially car loans, which vary widely.



From business banking to individual checking and savings accounts, the right bank is a tool you need for your daily financial monitoring. Keep these tips in mind and turn to your Alloy Silverstein accountant for an introduction to a local South Jersey banker.

The information contained in this newsletter is of a general nature and should not be acted upon in your specific situation without further details and/or professional assistance. For more information or for assistance with any of your tax or business concerns, contact our office at 856.667.4100.


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JB Financial Associates is now Alloy Silverstein.
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