When interest rates are fairly low, bank fees usually make up the main source of revenue for banks. In the United States, banks are required to disclose fees and other associated costs for accounts and loans up front. These fees are usually "hidden" in the fine print, which most business owners fail to read in entirety. Not only that, but especially with loans and credit cards, fees are often subject to change depending on various factors. Reading the fine print in detail, and consulting with an accountant or even your lawyer, can illuminate a potential problem down the road and save you quite a lot in the long run.
Common reasons for fees associated with checking and savings accounts include:
It's critical, especially for the small business owner, to be fully aware of any changes or charges associated with their bank. The first step is to review all accounts and make yourself aware of the various fees. The second step is to understand that not all fees are normal, or even the same across various institutions! The best way to find out if you're being unfairly penalized by fees is to ask questions. By not asking questions or obtaining clarification, bank fees continue to increase while your wallet continues to decrease. Don’t just look up your questions online; ask a real person.
It may sound like common knowledge, but with today’s fast paced society many of us skim through documents and sign on the dotted line. Instead, take the time to read and understand all rules both in print and online. To further avoid those unpleasant surprises, mix and match accounts. It may seem like a hassle, but in the long run it’s well worth it. One bank may have a convenience that the other bank doesn’t. For instance, ‘bank A’ may provide free checking and ‘bank B’ may have beneficial small business services.
If you find a better deal at another bank, go to your bank(s) in person and request to close your accounts. Chances are, they'll at least match, or even provide a better offer rather than risk losing your business. This will save you a lot of hassle from having to switch banks.