Be careful out there this Christmas, and with all of the chaos, be sure to check your bank’s math.

Your bank will undoubtedly calculate “monthly service fees” incorrectly. You have to watch them like a hawk. My Bank, and I will nOt mention them by nAme, charged me monthly service fees on both my checking and savings account yesterday. The stipulations were that if I did not maintain an average daily balance of $1500.00 in my checking account, and an average daily balance of $300.00 in my savings account, I would incur a fee of $12.00 for checking, and $5.00 for savings. They said they look at my activity and calculate from the 16th of every month to the 16th of the next month. I spoke with three different people on the phone, and they were all of the same opinion that I was in the wrong. They all pointed to the fact that I went under the appropriated amount on a couple of days within the 16th to the 16th. I quickly realized that this was not my error, because they were considering the maintaining of a “daily amount” of $1500.00 (checking) and $300 (savings), which would not be an “average daily amount”.

After I quickly downloaded all activity since I opened the account in Excel, I did an average by finding an empty cell and typing:

=average(

then I took my cursor and highlighted all of the daily amount balances for the days in between November 16th to December 16th

then I hit enter.

An low and behold – I was able to see that I was indeed maintaining an “average daily balance” over $1500.00 in my checking, and over the “average daily balance” in my savings.

I had both charges reversed by the fourth person I spoke with on the phone, because the other three people were too ignorant to realize what “average” meant.

An “average” is the addition of all the amounts within a given time period, and in this case from the 16th to the 16th of every month at my bank, and then you take that sum and divide it by the total number of occurrences. This produces an “average.”

When you look at an amount fall below what they consider “average”, it is no longer an “average”, it is a single data point.

You really must be vigilant and fight for your own money, because the banks seek to exploit people and make money from you simply because you have to do business with them. Most people trust the banks to do the math properly, just because they are banks. Many people who look to their bank accounts to check the availability of funds to see if they can afford something, place too much trust in big banks.

Please – avoid trusting the banks to do your math, and build your own B.I.E.

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