Here are a few practical tips to help make your experience of banking a good one. You may like to visit this website for a range of bank account guides and information that could help you find the right account for you.
Check your balance
It’s always a good idea to keep up-to-date with your balance. There are a few ways to do this: online banking, cash points, over the counter, on your statement and over the phone.
Sometimes your balance won’t be as up-to-date as you’d like, as money may still need to be debited from your account – if you use your debit card, for instance, it can sometimes take a couple of days for that transaction to register. Account providers should give you an up-to-date balance if you phone and request one. Some banks offer SMS balance updates as an additional feature.
Keep your statements
It’s also a good idea to keep your paper statements for your files and/or know how to access them with online banking. If you needed to prove you had paid for something, for example, a previous statement could be an easy way to provide the evidence.
Of course, paper statements aren’t the only way. Look out for things like online banking and SMS banking, which can be very easy ways to check your balance.
Keeping an eye on your balance can help you to avoid bank charges if you make sure you have enough money in your account to cover Direct Debits or standing orders. If you don’t have enough for them, many bank accounts will charge you.
Avoiding overdraft fees
Dipping into an unauthorised overdraft could lead to fees and charges (and the account provider could even close your account if you did this too much). You could avoid that by always keeping track of your money.
Another way to avoid overdraft fees is to open an account without an overdraft.
Budgeting and avoiding fees
Finally, you could set up your Direct Debits or standing orders to leave your account just after your payday, or the day you receive any benefits. That way, the money for important things is spent on them and as long as you’re careful, you shouldn’t get any bounced payments.
Another option is to keep different ‘pots’ of money for different purposes. For example, you could have a current account for your day-to-day spending, a savings account or ISA for your savings and a bills account. If you’re in a relationship, you could have a joint account that both of you pay into for shared expenses like bills.
There are certain bank accounts that would set up a budgeting service that works in a similar way to this. And if you’re able to get online, you’ll find online banking can be really helpful for transferring money between your accounts and checking your balance when you need to.