Avoiding Unnecessary Bank and Overdraft Charges
If there is one aspect of a healthy financial plan, it is checking our statements on a regular basis. When you look at it, we are counting the days down till payday, and many of us have online access to our employers payroll system, just to view our wages and taxes withheld.
We know the dates we get paid, and I am sure many of check our bank accounts at some ungodly hour of the morning, just to double check and insure our wages were paid in.
Checking bank statements and balances, and also any credit card statements, pension statements, any statement to do with our money, is important to review, and review regularly.
And this is so easy to do these days.
There is online banking, and most banks offer a mobile application to check balances and statements, and so do most credit cards today.
There is no excuse not to check these accounts regularly!
By not checking our bank statements and all statements on a regular basis we may miss an error; and yes banking errors occur. And so do banking “glitches”
As we will see, these glitches are not always the bank’s error, and they can still cost us money.
By not checking our statements, we could miss an error, which may cost us money in a banking fee or charge, or perhaps we go over our overdraft limit, or do not have an overdraft.
Unauthorised overdrafts can be expensive. The banks may charge more for these than what a payday loan’s interest rate may be.
Some banks are ceasing to charge for unauthorised overdrafts, but they are still charging a fee, so in essence it is still costing you money.
Costing you money, and possibly also damaging your credit score and credit rating.
So how to avoid these charges and fees, easy:
* Watch your bank balances daily.
* Know if you are close to your overdraft limit.
* Don’t be overdrawn, don’t spend more than you have in the account.
* If you find an error, report it to the bank immediately.
* Don’t use ATM’s that charge to take money out.
* Use free bank accounts, not with monthly service charges or monthly fees.
* Use online banking and stop paper statements, some banks charge for these.
Seems like common sense, however, banks make millions in fees each year.
Lastly, one area we need to be aware of is pending transactions. Many banking applications and online banking shows transactions you have made, but they are pending, this reduces the money you have available in the account.
You may check your account balance and it may show £500 in the account, but only £450 available.
The statement should also show the pending transactions. These are purchases or cash withdraws you have made, but have not yet been posted or taken out of the account. They are in hold, but still reduce your available balance.
This is where recently some Aldi shoppers in Rhyl found themselves in trouble.
A new Aldi store in Rhyl did not take payments out of customer’s bank accounts for a period of five (5) weeks. This caused some regular shoppers accounts to suddenly be debited in some instances £450.
Can you imagine you wake up one fine morning to find Aldi has debited your account £200 or £300 or more! Especially if you are a regular shopper there.
For some this has caused a “knock-on” effect which has left them with bank charges and fees, and also in need of the local food banks.
One food bank, The Kings Storehouse’s Sarah Jones stated, “We have already run out of milk and bread and the rest of our supplies are going down rapidly.”
“We are having to feed an extra two families a day, so a minimum of four people each time.”
“These are families who need help getting back on their feet after Aldi took the money from bank accounts last week.”
“It’s left many distressed and overdrawn with many facing bank charges.”
“At the very least, Aldi should help us with food.”
Aldi has stated they do support food banks in the area, however, not The Kings Storehouse, who have been urged to sign-up for Aldi’sfood bank programme.
A spokesperson for Aldi stated, “Due to a technical error, Mastercard and VISA payments made at our Rhyl store between August 15 and September 22 were not processed.”
“Customers who made a payment on card during this period will see the transaction appear on their bank statement from October 3.”
“We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused and want to assure customers that card payments are now being processed at this store as normal.”
Those who have been affected by this, and incurred bank charges, should contact Aldi.
Again, this is why checking our statements regularly is imperative, and especially pay close attention to the pending transactions, and available balance.
If Aldi did not post/process the payments, then there is little we could do except to possibly wonder why we have more money than we should. If you know your bank balance by checking it regularly, you can keep a mental note.
If you know you have £300 in the account, do a food shop and still have £300, it should raise a flag.