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Stretching Your Dollar: Overdraft Fees

Three quick tips to take down and avoid those overdraft fees.
Little Rock, AR -- Arvest Bank Consumer Loan Officer La'Twan Cheathem talks with FOX16's Deedra Wilson about how to avoid overdraft fees.  
 
Regulatory changes in recent years have required most large national banks to evaluate their free checking and overdraft policies. Nearly two thirds of big banks have eliminated free checking since the end of 2009, and debit card and overdraft fees have been on the rise.
 
The latest MoneyRates.com Bank Fees Survey -- a semi-annual report that highlights trends in the cost of checking accounts -- indicates that checking accounts continued to get more expensive in the first half of 2013, with more accounts implementing monthly service fees. 

According to the Bank Fee Survey, overdraft fees average $31.08 per incident.
 
Several easy ways to make sure to avoid having a negative balance in your checking account, and the accompanying overdraft fees:
 
1.     Balance your checkbook and account for both your debit card and checks you write. There is a disconnect between the checking account balance according to the bank and how much money you have to work with. If you have a traditional personal checking account, the bank doesn't know when you write a check, and most likely there are several days between writing a check and it being cashed. It's your responsibility to know how much money you have available at any one time.
 
2.     Access your checking account online. Online banking is one of the greatest benefits of the internet. Instead of waiting for a monthly statement in the mail, you can log onto your bank's website and check your recent transactions at any time. Mobile banking and being able to check your balance from your smart phone or tablet makes this easier than ever.
 
3.     Set low balance alerts- As banks continue to improve their technological offerings for checking accounts this service is becoming more and more common. You are alerted via email or text message if your bank account decreases to a balance you define. For example, you might receive an email when a cashed check reduces your balance to $95, five dollars below your established warning minimum of $100.
 
Arvest has continued our commitment to free checking and low fees in recent years, and with an overdraft fee of only $17.00 we have one of the lowest in the region.
 
Arvest's free checking account continues to have no monthly fee and no fee for a debit card, and includes free online banking.
 
1.     Barrington, Richard. "Free checking hits a new low." Web log post. Money Rates. 19 August. 2013. Web.  < http://www.money-rates.com/research-center/bank-fees/mid-2013.htm
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