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How do I minimise banking fees & charges for my not-for-profit organisation?

Every dollar saved by a community organisation is valuable.

This help sheet is to help you find ways to minimise the fees and charges paid by your community group. It is meant only as a rough guide, and you should ask your own bank for assistance in assessing your current fees and charges.

The more transactions you have the more you will be charged.

Instead of withdrawing small amounts, try to plan your cash requirements in advance to make less frequent withdrawals. Check your budget and see when and how you will need funds. Also monitor your transactions to see if you are close to any free limit and bear this in mind when you transact.

The most effective way of minimising fees is to avoid paper-based and over-the-counter transactions.

If you are writing cheques to pay for regular payments, check to see if alternatives are available - these generally have lower fees:

  • Direct Debit
  • BPAY
  • Internet banking
  • Phone banking

The fees payable on these alternative payment methods are often much lower and over time can mean significant savings.

Analyse your banking

Analyse your statements to see what fees you are being charged, where, and how. Take a good hard look at how you are using your account. Go back at least three months to see if there is any pattern to your transactions and see if there are ways you could receive or pay differently (see next point ).

Shop around

Compare your fees and charges with those at other financial institutions and make sure that you are getting the lowest available. Query your bank or credit union on any fees or charges that you are unfamiliar with. Ask them how you can get better fees and charges.

Consolidate your accounts

Are you banking with more than one bank or credit union? If so it may save you money to consolidate your accounts as (a) this could give you access to a better interest rate and (b) if you have more than one account you may be charged monthly fees on each account.

Try for direct deposits (and planned giving)

When memberships are due or you are expecting a number of donations or receipts by cheque, why not try and get these deposited directly into your account electronically?

The Our Community Foundation offers a commission-free online donations service called GiveNow.com.au (find out how to sign up here), while your bank may offer a membership collection service.

Charge it

Investigate the option of a charge card. You can pay for supplies on the card and receive a detailed monthly statement, incur only one fee for payment, and receive an interest free period.

Such a card does not need to operate on credit. You should check out your constitution and investment guidelines to ensure that your group can access these options.

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