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Five Money Saving Bank Hacks

Posted By Jim On 03/23/2009 @ 6:53 am In Banking | 17 Comments

Banks offer a lot of services and features. You probably know most of the popular ones. Heck, you probably know most of the not so popular ones. However, I am pretty certain that there is at least one thing on the follow list that you didn’t know about before. And if I’m wrong, I invite you to look at these 7 Unwritten and Often Forgotten Credit Card Secrets [3], and hopefully between the two you’ll learn something new that will save you some money in these difficult times.

#1 Cashback on Debit Transactions

I don’t use my debit card much but if you are in an area where you can’t get to your bank’s ATM, the next best option is to buy something at a grocery store and request cash back. You will be limited to $20 or $40 (or more, depending on the place) and you have to buy something, but it’s better than paying the ATM fees and getting nothing for it.

#2 Remote Check Deposit

Some banks offer remote check deposit, a feature where you can scan images of your checks or fax your checks to your bank. This saves you the time spent waiting in line for a teller or ATM and the gas your car needs to get you there. When you think about it, a paper check is really an artifact of a past era. All the bank needs from the check, besides the security features (which many don’t even care about unless the check is over a certain amount), is the ABA routing number, the account number, the recipient, and the amount. Everything else is just dead tree. Not many banks offer this, but if you’re does, consider yourself lucky.

#3 Online Billpay

Yeah yeah, we all know about online bill pay. You set up your accounts and the utility company or the credit card withdraws the money, big deal right? While that can save you money, that’s often just part of what you can do with online bill pay nowadays. You can have the bank mail a check to someone on your behalf. Owe a friend $10 and you never remember to pay them? Just enter in the name and an address, the bank will mail off a check absolutely free of charge. You save yourself the headache of remembering, the embarrassment of constantly forgetting, and the cost of a stamp and check.

#4 Free Coin Counting

Avoid the ubiquitous Coinstar machines that siphon 8.9% of every transaction (unless you convert to a gift card) and find a bank that offers free coin counting. Most banks will let you use their coin counting services even if you aren’t a customer of the bank. They do this because, let’s be honest, coin counting is hardly an expensive task (it’s done by a machine) and they might be able to turn you into a customer. Either way, this site [4] has a map and list places that offer free coin counting (not sure how accurate it is but it’s a start).

#5 Free Checks

Every bank has a checking account package that offers free checks. The hack here is to deposit enough money to avoid minimum balance fees, convert your account type to that account, get your free checks, and then convert it back (I wish I could claim credit, a Bank of America representative offered this as an option to ordering checks, which I took!). At Bank of America, that checking account is the Advantage┬« Checking with a minimum of $5,000. Ask to convert your account, then order your checks. Once they arrive, just convert it back – boom, free checks. You’ll want to do this quickly though because you’re giving up interest earned versus having it in an online savings account [5], especially since buying checks online [6] isn’t all that expensive.

Do you have a favorite trick or hack that I missed? I’d love to hear about it!


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[1] Tweet: http://twitter.com/share

[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/five-money-saving-bank-hacks.html

[3] 7 Unwritten and Often Forgotten Credit Card Secrets: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/7-unwritten-often-forgotten-credit-card-secrets.html

[4] this site: http://www.theunderstory.com/index.htm

[5] online savings account: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/top-5-online-banks-savings-or-checking-accounts.html

[6] buying checks online: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/buying-checks-online.html

Thank you for reading!