10 things to watch out for when ... comparing bank charges

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 January, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 January, 2001, 12:00am

Research: Compare service fees and research the information thoroughly before using the service.

Consolidate: Consolidate your accounts. If you have separate accounts, only keep those that are vital. This helps avoid paying unnecessary charges.

Statements: Keep up to date with any changes in your bank's policies. Read bank statements and letters from your bank carefully. Your bank should give you 30 days' notice before varying fees and charges.

Interest: When choosing a service, consider not just the interest rate, but also the fees and charges involved.

Compare banks: Compare charges from different banks before using a service.

Inactive accounts: Do not leave an account dormant for too long as this can attract a charge. Shanghai Commercial Bank, for example, levies a HK$25 semi-annual fee if your account is below HK$100 and dormant for 12 months.

ATMs: When withdrawing cash from an ATM, make sure it does not charge you for the service. Using Visa Plus/Cirrus, for example, can attract a 1.5 per cent charge.

Overdrafts: If you think you may overdraw, contact your bank during business hours to explain your case. Otherwise, you will risk paying a substantial fee.

Overseas transfer: When sending money overseas, a bank draft is cheaper than a telegraphic transfer.

Branch call: Visit your bank. According to the Consumer Council's recent report, some banks only announce new charges at their branches but not in writing.

FO01: Comparing bank charges

FO01: By Arun Sudhaman

Graphic: trigg1gwz