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Don't Pay Extra for These 10 Banking Services

Your bank might charge for checks, printed statements. You can get those elsewhere for less — or even for free

6. Invoicing services for small-business owners and entrepreneurs

Some banks are now offering small-business assistance services and options to help business owners manage invoices and payments. These services might include options to customize invoice templates and other documents with your logo, set up automatic reminder emails and keep track of invoices on a dashboard. However, there are dozens of free invoicing programs and apps available for small-business owners if you happen to be an entrepreneur. While a paid service through a bank may be convenient, you may end up paying for something that you can actually get for free. Do some research to find software programs or apps that can help you manage invoices without enrolling in any type of paid online program.

7. Online bill payment services

Having the ability to pay your bills online can help to organize your budget and keep your finances organized. However, online bill payment services shouldn't come with a fee. Some banks and institutions do impose fees for certain types of accounts, so make sure you're aware of the cost of those transactions before you authorize payment. Talk to a bank representative to find out if any accounts have free online bill pay options.

8. Copies of checks or image copies

Many banks post image copies of checks in your transaction history so you can see exactly which checks have posted and review your deposit slips after making the deposit. Just make sure you're not paying an extra fee for this service. At the very least, the bank should be able to give you an electronic copy of the front and back of a canceled check for your records. This service might only be offered to longtime or privileged customers, so find out if you are eligible.

9. Mobile banking options

Now that more people are using their smartphones or tablet computers to take care of bill payments and manage their finances, many banks have created mobile websites and apps for streamlined mobile banking. These apps and services should be free, so read the fine print before enrolling in any type of mobile banking service. Again, speaking with a bank representative before you enroll can help ensure you won't incur unexpected fees or charges just for managing your account on the go.

10. Year-end banking or spending summaries

Year-end banking and spending summaries can be useful for putting together next year's budget and analyzing your spending habits for the year. You might also need these documents when you are preparing your taxes, as year-end statements typically itemize your expenses in various categories. Most banks offer free, printable year-end summaries or PDF documents that list all your withdrawals, deposits and related transactions. This is a standard service that is usually free of charge at most banks and financial institutions.

As you can see, many credit and banking services can streamline your finances, keep you better organized and even help you save time and money. Just make sure you're not paying needlessly for things you don't need or for banking services that should be offered at no cost at all.

Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach(R), is a personal finance expert, television and radio personality, and regular contributor to AARP. You can follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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BANKING LOCAL: John Holt, president and CEO of Nutmeg State Federal Credit Union in Connecticut, discusses the advantages of banking at a local bank rather than a bigger national institution.

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