When the big four banks – Commonwealth, NAB, Westpac and ANZ – axed the ATM fees for customers who do not bank with them, eyebrows were raised whether other fees would come under attack.

ATM fees raised about $5 million a year for our august banking institutions.

And the move to abolish ATM fees comes as ATM use has fallen significantly. Over the last eight years the number of monthly ATM transactions have fallen by a third according to comparison site, Canstar.

So what other bank fees will come under scrutiny and what can you do to avoid additional bank charges?

Australia has one of the highest bank fees in the world including the UK which has already abolished ATM fees.

Banks and other financial institutions charge vastly different rates and fees, so you can save money by shopping around for the best deal.

The average credit card interest rate is over 17 per cent but there are cards on the market which have an interest rate well below 10 per cent.

Or better still, don’t use a credit card if you don’t need it. You can use a debit card instead.

Be careful when you make overseas transactions. When you send money overseas, you pay a fee to your bank and to the bank on the other end of the transaction. You also lose money on the exchange rate.

Instead of using your bank, look at alternative online options including Paypal.

Be aware that banks impose penalty fees if your account is overdrawn. Consumer advocacy magazine Choice, says that a penalty fee should be no more than $5. You can always contact your bank and ask for the penalty to be reversed. To be on the safe side, check what penalty charges you may face by searching on your bank’s website, if not ask them in person.

Check that your everyday account does not attract a monthly fee. Find a basic account with no fees. Keep the money you need to cover your everyday costs in your transaction account and put the rest in a savings account with a reasonable interest rate. Transaction accounts should be linked to a savings account. You should also be able to transfer money back and forth between the accounts on the internet as often as you like at no charge.

Always check your bank statement to find ways how you can save money.  

Banks regularly offer new accounts with more competitive features. You should look closely at the fees and consider switching bank accounts.

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