As banks begin to feel the pinch due to credit card fee restrictions implemented by the Credit CARDAct, many financial institutions have begun to nickel and dime existing and new banking customers. For debtors exiting bankruptcy the new fee-heavy bank policies can be financially painful.
Below are a few tips on how post-bankruptcy debtors can avoid being nickel and dimed at their bank:
1. Post-bankruptcy debtors should use direct deposit when banking instead of checks. Many banks are willing to waive their monthly checking account maintenance fees if you're willing to deposit your paycheck electronically into your account. However, paychecks aren't the only types of direct deposits that can save you money on fees, direct depositing Social Security, veterans, disability and pension benefits can also save you cash on fees.
2. Post-bankruptcy debtors should maintain a minimum balance in their checking account to avoid monthly service fees if they don't have income which you can deposit directly into their account. Some banks will waive fees if you hold a minimum amount of money in the account at all times. For example, you might be required to keep a balance of $1,000 in your checking account, or keep a total of $2,000 with the bank, including money held in the bank's savings account or CDsetc. Keeping a minimum balance in a checking account may be a tall order for a debtor just exiting bankruptcy; but if you check with smaller banks and credit unions the minimum balance requirements may be low.
3. Post-bankruptcy debtors should use caution when opening e-accounts with major banks. Some larger banks nickel and dime their e-customers by charging them for teller service, paper statements and even for withdrawing money from the ATM beyond a certain number of times.