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The only way to avoid having to pay checking account fees is to be aware of them. The first place you can start is by utilizing a free checking account. This type of account will eliminate the concern of having to maintain a balance or only being allowed to write a certain amount of checks every month.

It is possible that your bank may mandate a minimum balance in order for your account to be 'free'. If these stipulations are not a concern, then this type of account is right for you. The best way to avoid fees is to locate an account that is perfect for your situation and needs.

It is important to note that there are a wide variety of chargeable fees associated with free checking accounts. On an encouraging note, if you perform positive checking practices, you will not have to worry about most of them.

Below is a breakdown of some of the more common fees and how you can avoid them. Learn what steps should be taken if you feel that you are being charged an erroneous fee by your bank.

Non-sufficient funds
NSF fees are the most expensive fees you will come across. If you keep your check book balanced and by keeping tabs of all your checks and debit card purchases, you will avoid overdrawing from your account. You should also consider applying for overdraft protection, especially if you have a joint account with someone that has less than stellar bookkeeping skills. Overdraft protection means your bank will link your checking account to another account you have with them, like a savings account. They will deduct any checking accounts overdrafts from the linked account. There is a fee associated with this action, but is much less that the cost of having non-sufficient funds.

ATM fees
Every time you use an ATM that does not belong to your bank, you will be charged a fee. Therefore, either stick to using your bank's ATMs only or make sure you withdraw enough money so that you don't have to make frequent ATM transactions.

Additional fees
The smartest thing you can do is drill down our list of common fees associated with checking accounts. You'll discover that there are many that can be evaded by merely planning better.

Fees that are unavoidable
There are some fees that you just can't avoid. For example, there is nothing you can do to eliminate the cost of having a safety deposit box. It is possible that you will be able to find services cheaper from a different source, i.e. money orders, check printing.

Obtain a copy of your bank's fee schedule
Before you open a checking account with any bank, ask for their fee schedule. You don't want any surprises. Determine if you will be charged for your debit card use. If you like paying your bills online, you should try and find a bank that does not charge a fee for this service.

You should also conclude if you are going to be charged fees for closing a checking accounts.

It is not that easy to choose a checking account these days. Consumers have many options -- unlike years ago when the hardest choice to make was choosing what color you wanted your checks to be.



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