Guest post by Ashley Atkinson, Relationship Management Officer, Bank of American Fork
Why you should make sure you understand your analyzed account.
Is your bank charging you an unpredictable amount on the 15th of each month without an accompanying statement? Do fees get lost in your business’ high volume of transactions? Is there a reason why your bank is making it so difficult for you to see the breakdown of your monthly fees?
One of my customers was recently put into an analyzed account at a large institution and their fees disappeared for a few months. They assumed they had a high enough balance that they were getting free banking. Three months later, several thousand dollars was deducted from their account at once, with no simple way for them to identify if those charges were reasonable.
An analyzed account is typically required for businesses that have a high volume of year-round transactions. Analyzed accounts track each transaction coming in and out of your account (including debits, credits, wires, ACH and other online services) and charge on a per-item basis. A counter is used that totals the number of each transaction. The cost of the transactions can be offset with your interest earned or an earnings credit, depending on how the account is set up.
Some financial institutions avoid sending out monthly analysis statements or they make it extremely difficult to understand their breakdown of fees.
Spending a few minutes looking at and understanding your statements might save you thousands of dollars annually on banking fees. At Bank of American Fork, we often save our customers a few hundred dollars per month by bringing their analyzed accounts to us from other financial institutions. We identify what each customer really needs and eliminate the excessive fees that some banks charge.
While looking through statements with another customer, we found that their bank was double charging them for all checks scanned via remote deposit – on top of a $75 monthly fee for each check scanner!
Another bank requires every account related to an analyzed account to also be analyzed (despite only having a few transactions per month) and tacks on an additional $25+ monthly fee for each related account.
To ensure that you aren’t receiving similar, unreasonable charges, there are several things you can do when you review your analyzed account statement:
- Make sure your charges are being taken out monthly and not backdated.
- Look at your remote check scanning charges and make sure there aren’t premiums being charged on every check being deposited remotely.
- Find and get rid of services you’re paying for that aren’t necessary for your business.
- Check off the fees that you understand and know are for valuable services to you.
- Circle fees that you’re unsure about and schedule a time to discuss these with your banker.
Because of the high volume of transactions, and the complexity of the statements, it can be difficult to understand what you’re being charged at first glance. Don’t let this overwhelm you! Your banker should be more than happy to sit down with you and answer any questions. If they aren’t, that might be a red flag.
If you find you’re being charged fees that don’t quite add up, look for a community bank. Community bankers know their communities well and can be a valuable resource for business owners. We also have the ability to be more flexible than some banks and can custom fit a product that works and makes sense for you.