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10 Banking Moves You Should Make Today

Most people assume that by keeping money in the bank they are saving money. The truth is that banks have come up with all kinds of ways to separate you from your money if you aren't careful. Many people are not only lending money to the bank but also paying the bank to let them do so.

To ensure that your money works for you and not for the bank, here are 10 banking moves that you should make immediately:

1. Move your money to a high-interest online bank. If you are keeping an emergency fund or other money in a savings account that is earning little in interest, you should move your money to one of the many online banks that are paying far more than the typical bank. There are over 15 online banks offering 5% or more, and many require only a dollar to open an account.

2. Find a bank that offers free ATM withdrawals. If you use an ATM regularly and pay a charge for using it, it's time to change banks. There is enough competition in most areas that you can find a bank that will offer free ATM use. It's worthwhile to check credit unions in your area, since they are more likely to offer free ATM use, but it's important to note that since they are smaller than most banks, they may not have a widely distributed ATM network.

3. Consider consolidating your accounts to one bank. If you have several bank accounts at different banking institutions, it can make financial sense to consolidate them at one bank. Using a single bank for all your accounts can give you leverage to get discounted services. For example, if a bank requires a $1,000 minimum balance to earn interest in a checking account, it might waive this minimum if you also have a large CD deposit with that bank. The more banking business you do, the more leverage you're likely to have to negotiate on little fees and rates that can add up over time.
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