Ah who doesn’t love talking about banks and banking? Okay you don’t have to answer, that but please don’t run away yet.
If your bank is on your side then you’re smiling because you’re saving money on fees and growing your savings. Unfortunately, unless a relative of yours works at the bank, chances are that you’re not getting your money’s worth.
Let’s look at some common bank tricks that all 20-somethings need to watch out for:
1. A required minimum balance for certain rates.
Sure you can earn 4%! All you need is a minimum of $25,000 (or whatever their number is). Okay, cool. Well actually no it’s not. Not everyone has 25 grand laying around. Those that do likely have their money diversified in different investments and don’t want to tie it up in one account.
This is actually what caught my eye when I first saw an ING Direct commercial. The female (attractive of course) in the commercial kept on reiterating the fact that ING Direct didn’t require a minimum balance for their high interest savings account. This caught me by surprise. It seemed like every other bank account at the time required a certain limit to earn their juicy rates. Not trying to kiss ass for ING but I really respected the fact that they offered the same interest rate to everyone.
2. Introductory rates.
Perfect, you do get the earn the 4% with your$1,000 in savings– but for the next 6 months only. Watch out for introductory bank rates. There’s no point to leave your bank that you trust for that new bank offering a higher rate for a few months only. Bank rates are always changing (ING Direct just changed theirs at the beginning of February) and it makes no sense to go through different bank accounts for introductory rates. It’s cool if you’re a day trader and a savvy investor, but for the average 20-something there are bigger and better things to worry about (such as increasing or diversifying your income).
3. Fake rates.
Banks (and many retailers) hold out on the really juicy accounts and offers.
Why? Because they want to sign you up for lower rates and make more money off as you, as opposed to have you earn a higher interest rate on your savings. You wouldn’t give someone a discount for your product unless they really persisted, would you?
Some battles are worth fighting until the end. This is one of them. If the bank refuses to waive the monthly fees, then be willing to fight until the very end. You will most likely win if you’re wiling to go at it. If you lose then it shows you’re better off since the bank doesn’t value your business. Another bank will be more than willing to eliminate your monthly fees and offer you their best account/rates.
What other bank tricks have you guys destroyed in the past? Please share…
(Note: The numbers used are not precise by any means. Don’t get offended. Don’t yell at me. Just discuss.)