By Barbara Pronin, RISMedia Columnist
Greeters at your bank may be friendly and personable. If you are in the branch regularly, they may even greet you by name. But make no mistake, notes financial columnist Miranda Marquit, they are in business to make a profit.
"Helping you with your financial goals is not as high on their list as making money off of you," Marquit says, listing eight things your bank won't tell you, but that you need to know in order to better manage your money:
When your deposit is available – Some banks limit the amount immediately available to you when you make a deposit. If you plan to deposit and spend right away, ask when your deposited funds will be available. Post-dating doesn't mean much - If you postdate a check and the recipient cashes it ahead of time, the bank will likely run it through. If that happens and your account is short of funds, you will be responsible for any fees. Fees are their big moneymaker – Banks made over $38 billion last year on overdraft fees alone. Making credit card payments and other transactions on time will save you money and leave your bank wanting more. You can get some fees waived – Many banks will waive one or two fees a year – if you ask! So don't just fume. If your account is generally solvent, ask your bank once in a while to reverse an overdraft or late fee. Your online account info may not be accurate – Checking transactions may not always be up to date in your online account. If you are cutting things close, calling the bank to confirm online data may save you a penalty fee. Bankers are salespeople – The more 'products' they can get you to 'buy,' the more money they make. Be wary when they pitch you new accounts, loans and services; they may be more in their interest than in yours. Shop around for services – If you need a home equity line or other financial service, shop around. Don't assume your bank will offer you the best deal. Loan decisions are rarely local – Local bank managers rarely have that authority. No matter how good a relationship you think you have with your branch, it's the system that will approve or deny your loan application.