7 More Secrets from Your Bank

Discover more little-known secrets of banks and banking and get smarter with your money.

 

Also see: The 13 Things Your Bank Won’t Tell You

     

  • 1.

    Online Banking...

    is pretty safe, but it could be better, according to researchers at the University of Michigan. They studied 214 financial-institution websites and found design flaws in 76 percent of them, including banks redirecting users to less-secure sites.

  • 2.

    Read the Fine Print

    Aask us to explain the terms, and get the details in writing before you sign anything.

  • 3.

    Overdraft Fees

    Many banks will permit you to withdraw more money than you have on deposit at the ATM, but they’ll charge you about $34 for the privilege.

  • 4.

    Business Loan Advice

    You have to admit that applying for a business loan and calling yourself a “financial consultant” sounds a little shady.

  • 5.

    Lost and Theft Protection

    If you’re using your ATM card for debit transactions, ask your bank what kind of protection it offers if the card is stolen or lost. Thousands of dollars could be pulled from your checking account and, in many cases, you wouldn’t be nearly as protected as you would be with a stolen credit card, says Bach.

  • 6.

    Universal Default Clause

    Before you sign up for a bank-issued credit card, ask if it has a “universal default clause”—what Bach calls “the ultimate poison clause in credit cards.” If it does, run for the nearest exit. It allows the bank to look through all your credit accounts, and if it sees that you’re late paying a bill on another card, it gets to jack up the interest rate on its card. “How about that for a scam!”says Bach.

  • 7.

    Waived Fees

    You can get practically any fee waived if you ask, especially if you’re a longtime customer.