1. Save your prepaid debit card after it is used.
Have you ever wanted to sign up for a free online trial but worry about getting scammed? You just know the company will try to cheat you and charge you after the free trial is over? This is the perfect opportunity for that used prepaid debit card you received as a gift. You will still be able to sign up and try the service or product without worrying about a recurring monthly subscription fee you never agreed to.
2. Need a notary? Check your bank.
Many banks offer free notary services for their customers. Standard notary fees vary from around $5 – $20 or more per signature. These costs quickly add up to ridiculous amounts for just a few signatures. Save yourself some cash by calling your bank first, most offer free notary services to customers.
3. Protect your bank account with a fake PIN.
Write a fake PIN on the back of your credit or debit card. If it is stolen and the thief tries to withdraw your money from an ATM, then he/she will waste PIN attempts on a fake number and the machine will take the card!
4. If you receive a call from your bank’s fraud department, hang up and call them back.
Even if the caller ID shows your bank calling you, it is best to call them back on a number that you can 100% verify. Scammers can change how their calls show up on caller ID and use that to try to get your PIN or other personal information.
5. Upset with something your bank did? Threaten to close your account.
If you are upset about something your bank did, or a fee you don’t agree with, you can complain. First, you will talk to a call center agent, who might be able to waive a small fee for you. You can also get a manager who will have a little more authority. If you are still not satisfied, then threaten to close your account. This should get you transferred to a specialist or a member of the retention team. These people have the most authority and it is their job not to lose customers. Stay firm in your stance that you will close your account, and you should get a better result.
6. Before using your credit or debit card on any ATM, tug on the card reader to reduce chances of having your card skimmed.
ATM machines are tough, so you can tug hard and not hurt the machine. Thieves can install card skimmers on ATM machines, or other readers that look identical to the existing readers. Gas stations are another popular place for the devices to hide. If you can move the card reader at all, then it could be a skimmer, and it is best not to use the machine.
7. Avoid ATM fees with a small convenience store purchase.
If you find that you need $20 and your option seems to be using a gas station ATM that charges $2 to $4 plus possible additional bank fees, consider buying a $0.99 beverage or snack instead. You can use your debit card to pay and get cashback with no fee.
8. Positive feedback is a great way to grow your savings account.
When you are thinking about buying something you don’t need or will rarely use, instead of buying it, transfer that money into a savings account. Add a memo to the transfer stating what the near-purchase was. You will see your savings grow and thank yourself for not wasting money on something quickly forgotten.
9. Do not keep your checking and savings accounts at the same bank as your mortgage or credit card.
If you fall behind on your payments, then your bank can legally take money from your checking/savings account to pay your mortgage or credit card bill. This becomes especially important if you lose your job or have a medical or other emergency and have to temporarily choose between buying food or paying the mortgage.
10. It is better to have your debit card declined than pay overdraft fees.
If you bank offers overdraft protection, it is probably best to cancel it if there are any fees attached. It is better to have your card declined and need to find another form of payment than to pay the high overdraft fees that many banks charge.
11. Bonus tip: Sign-up for an online savings account.
Online savings accounts offer higher interest rates and fewer fees when compared to the big banks. View our list sorted by rate here.