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I ditched paying bank fees on money transfers for a year and I gained P6,000 in savings.

It’s not a whopping amount but it’s still noteworthy: The extra cash is worth 25 Grab rides or 750 minimum-fare trips, a year’s worth of water bill, more than a year’s worth of Netflix subscription, two weeks’ worth of groceries for a family of four or just a welcome boost to a rainy-day fund.

Saving money doesn’t really need grand gestures. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple step, a small change in your spending priorities or the way you handle bank transactions so you can kickstart your way to building a reliable retirement savings or your household kitty.

In my case, I switched to online banking through GCash, a mobile wallet platform that allows money transfers for free—no extra or hidden charges or service/convenience fees. All I needed to do was to link my main bank account BDO, to my GCash app under “My Bank Cards.”

I started using GCash, which can be downloaded at no cost from the App Store (for iOS) or the Play Store (Android), when I realized that my visits to the bank to transfer money became more frequent and it was becoming a tedious routine.

I was coming in about once or twice a week or at least five times in a month and each visit lasts between 30 minutes and an hour. If you do the math, that’s a total of roughly two to five hours of precious time wasted in traffic going to and from the bank and in long lines in the bank to get served.

But sending money from one bank account to another through GCash totally eliminated the burden of enduring long queues in traditional banks.

More importantly, GCash removed expensive convenience fees for transferring money from one bank account to another. Before GCash, I paid P100 for every money transfer transaction I did from my main bank account (BDO) to my non-BDO accounts or to other local bank accounts. My average bank transfers are five in a month, so this translated to a monthly unnecessary expense of P500.

When I discovered how GCash was helping me avoid this bank fee, which was subtly draining my savings, I made a little experiment to know how much I would exactly save if I used the mobile wallet app exclusively for sending money for an entire year. I set aside P100 for every bank transfer transaction I made from my BDO account through my GCash app.

At the end of the year, I had P6,000 extra cash—more than enough to open and maintain another savings account. But then again, why open a new account in a traditional bank that charges fees when you fall short of the required minimum daily balance when GCash requires no minimum balance to maintain an account?

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