Many of us have set up autopayments and have direct deposit transactions happening each month. With so much movement being automated, mistakes can happen, and when they do it can be costly. Moreover, the complacency of this automation can lead to other mistakes that hurt our financial potential. Here are four of the most common mistakes that people make with their checking accounts and how they can be avoided.
Not having enough money to cover bills
If you have automated the payment of many of your bills through your checking account, then you know how important it is to make sure you have enough money to pay them. This is especially true if your direct deposits aren’t synced with your automated bill payments. Not having enough money will result in overdraft charges and a negative balance. Moreover, not paying your bills on time can have credit score implications, particularly if you miss the payment without realizing for 30 days or more. Stay on top of your balance at all times so you can make sure that you avoid this situation.
Not investing any of your extra cash
For fear of the above-described scenario, some of us would rather have a bigger cushion just in case something unexpected happens. However, as long as you have enough to cover your bills and have a small portion for an emergency, then you should take what you have leftover and invest it. Checking accounts don’t accumulate a lot off of interest, which is why you should look into getting a savings account with a better interest rate or opening a Roth IRA if you have not already.
Paying fees when you don’t have to
You should never have to pay fees for a checking account. You should make sure you understand if there are any minimum balance requirements to make sure you consistently stay above that to avoid any unnecessary fees that can add up. Knowing your balance at all times can avoid you paying overdraft fees. Furthermore, and this is especially true if you move to a new area, you should not be paying ATM fees. Even though you may be loyal to the bank you are currently with or perhaps don’t want to deal with the hassle of transferring your money to a new institution, you should be using a bank account that has readily available ATMs in your area.
Complacency diminishing financial opportunity
I will admit that I am guilty of getting too complacent with my financial institution. However, many of us should be paying attention to interest deals at competitor banks—and it doesn’t mean that it has to be a brick and mortar institution. Online banks offer very competitive interest rates because they have less overhead to worry about. And in some cases, brick and mortar banks will offer special deals. Keep in mind that before you make a switch, you understand that duration of this deal, for the interest rate may be good at first, but after a year, it may gradually go down to a lower level.