Free checking does exist. Free REWARDS Checking even exists. Yet so many people are paying to keep a checking account open.
The problem is this: most people open an account and keep it to avoid the hassle of change – even if it’s good change. Most people also don’t know about free services such as ClickSWITCH that make switching your payments and direct deposit simple.
The big banks aren’t looking out for their customers best interest. The Wells Fargo scandal is a good example of that. And unnecessary fees are just a piece of that puzzle.
What Fees Are You Being Charged?
Monthly maintenance fees have to be the most annoying, as that fee is just the price for having the account. Monthly maintenance fees average $10-12 for most big bank checking accounts according to NerdWallet. The bank may waive those fees if you maintain a certain minimum balance and/or have direct deposit set up with the account. Free checking accounts don’t, or shouldn’t, come with strings attached.
Monthly maintenance fees don’t appear to be improving either. CNBC reported that about 35% of checking accounts had no monthly fee, but that number dropped to below 25% in 2015.
It’s even harder to find a free account if you’re looking for rewards checking. A Bankrate survey revealed that only 5.5% of banks offered free interest-bearing checking accounts.
Don’t forget monthly maintenance fees can also add on to other expensive fees: overdraft, out-of-network ATM, debit card replacement, etc.
Minimum to Open: Blocking Opportunity
Some financial institutions make it harder for you to open an account that can financially benefit you by enforcing a minimum deposit to open the account. If you don’t have a good chunk saved, you might be forced to lose out.
Your Best Bet: Open a Credit Union Checking Account
Credit unions are run by the members, which means you’ll find the types of accounts you want to have without the strings.