If you’re paying high fees on your bank account or a steep interest rate on a credit card, it’s time to shop around for a better deal. Here are four ways to trim account fees and interest:
Switch to a no-fee rewards card.
Not getting your money’s worth from a card that charges an annual fee? You have plenty of great choices among no-fee cards. The Citi Double Cash card rewards you with 1 percent cash back when you make a purchase and another 1 percent when you pay the bill, for a total of 2 percent on all spending. Discover It offers 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that change quarterly; in 2018, the 5 percent categories include gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and Amazon.com
Don’t pay for benefits you can get free. Your card may offer purchase protection, which provides a refund, replacement or repair if an item you bought with the card is damaged or stolen within a few months of purchase. Some cards include travel insurance, such as for trip cancellations or lost or delayed baggage. Certain types of identity-theft monitoring, such as scanning internet black markets for your Social Security number, are available to MasterCard and Discover cardholders.
Find a fee-free bank account.
The Bank of Internet USA Essential Checking account requires no minimum balance or monthly fee and provides unlimited reimbursement of out-of-network ATM fees. Plus, it’s free to have money automatically transferred from a savings account if you overdraw your checking account. The free Ally Bank Interest Checking Account yields up to 0.6 percent, depending on the balance. Ally reimburses up to $10 monthly in out-of-network ATM fees, and overdraft transfers from savings are free (but you’ll pay a $25 fee if you choose to have Ally cover an overdraft).
Cut down on interest.
If you’re carrying a balance on a credit card, consider transferring it to a card such as the BankAmericard Credit Card. It charges no interest for 15 months and levies no balance-transfer fee. (You must make the transfer within 60 days of opening the account to capture those terms.)
If you can’t pay off the balance before the zero percent window closes, you may be better off moving the debt to a lower-rate loan. The average rate on a $30,000 home-equity line of credit was recently 5.66 percent, according to Bankrate.com. Or consider a personal loan. LightStream, an online lending division of SunTrust Bank, offers rates as low as 5.49 percent on a debt-consolidation loan.