15 Common Checking Account Fees You Should Avoid
Here are the most common fees you will come across with banks, financial institutions and companies, and the sad fact is that most of them are avoidable if you pick the right account.
1. Paper Statement Fees
Most banks, financial institutions or companies will charge you money for paper-based statements these days. They offer you online statements for free, and charge you money to have a paper version of your statement posted out to you. It may seem fair since most people enjoy Internet banking, so it doesn’t really affect most users, but some banks charge around $10 per statement, which is as much as a lawyer charges!
2. Minimum Balance Fees
There are some accounts that will charge you a monthly fee if you do not maintain a minimum balance. If this is for a savings account, then it may be justifiable, but for a checking account it is out of order and you should avoid any such accounts with a passion. It is unfair to charge people for a checking or deposit account and you shouldn’t encourage such behavior by signing up for them.
3. ATM Fees For Your Own Bank’s Network
If you have a checking account with a bank, financial institution or company, then they are very likely to have either their own ATMs around the country, or are highly likely to be affiliated with a network of ATMs. In other words, if you have a legitimate checking account, you should be able to some ATMs in the US for free. If you have to pay every time you use an ATM, then avoid that checking account. Read our guide to the Best Checking Accounts — some of these won’t have ATM fees.
4. ATM Fees For Other Cash Machines
There are many checking accounts that will reimburse you for fees you incur whilst using other banks and other companies ATMs. If you can avoid fees by having the fees reimbursed, then it is highly recommended. Read our guide to the Best Checking Accounts — some of these won’t have ATM fees.
5. Overdraft Fees
A great many banks, financial institutions and companies will charge you money for going into an un-arranged and/or unplanned overdraft. Many of them will charge you money for actually going over, and almost all of them will charge you interest on the money you have technically borrowed. Avoid overdraft fees and charges as much as you can.
6. Money Transfer Fees
There are some accounts that charge you money for transferred in to your account from other bank accounts and for withdrawals from your account to other accounts. There are some fees that are acceptable, but this is not one of them. At the very most, they should have limits to how much you may transfer every day. Read our guide on the best ways to send money to individuals which gives some methods of transferring money as cheaply as possible.
7. Deposit Fees
There are some business accounts that will charge you for transactions such as depositing money and checks. You shouldn’t have to pay to deposit money or checks into your account (ever). This also includes the fact you shouldn’t have to pay postage to mail your checks away.
8. Maintenance Fees
There are some deposits and checking accounts that ask you to pay maintenance fees. There are times when these fees are justified, but in most cases, you shouldn’t be paying a fee for the sake of having an account. You are the one paying money into them, they owe you more than you owe them, so the idea of paying to have an account is silly.
9. Opening Fees
If your checking account has some sort of arranged overdraft, or it comes with credit, then a fee to open the account is fine. Otherwise, you shouldn’t have to pay to open an account. Asking for an opening deposit is fine because it shows the bank you are committed to the account, but the deposit is still yours to have and withdraw once the account is open. They shouldn’t charge you to open a checking or savings account. Read our guide on the best free checking accounts for a list of bank accounts that don’t have such fees.
10 Insufficient Funds Fees
These are fees that are levied if a company tries to take money out of your account and there is not enough money in it. Usually you will go into an overdraft and may be charged for it, but sometimes they reject the order to take money out and you are charged a fee for it. These fees are unfortunate, but some checking accounts will waive them.
11. Ordering Check Books
Having to pay to post checks to your bank is annoying (and pointless), but having to pay in order to receive new check books is outright ridiculous, and yet many banks will charge you for check books. If you are putting enough money into their accounts so that you are able to write numerous checks, then they should be grateful, they shouldn’t be charging you for using your account in such a manner.
12. New Debit Card Fees
These are unreasonable fees unless you are the type of person that has to order a new card every week because you keep losing yours. There are few banks that will charge you for new cards, but the ones that do should be avoided because the fees are unfair.
13. Overdraft Protection Fees
There are numerous versions of this fee. The most common is the one that covers you for putting your account into debt. They set up an unarranged overdraft and charge you a fee for doing so. Otherwise, the protection fee will help to keep your account out of the red so that your credit rating doesn’t suffer, but they charge you a fee for doing so.
14. Foreign Transaction Fees
You may expect an ATM charge if you use your card abroad. You may also expect higher card charges for using your card overseas, but there are sometimes fees for foreign transactions too. For example, if you move your money to an account overseas, you may be charged a fee.
15. Human Teller Fees
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Businesses are often charged for using human tellers in banks and financial institutions, but some checking accounts and savings accounts will also charge you money for using human tellers. If this is the case, then they need to avoid that account at all costs because the bank, financial institution or company doesn’t have your best interests at heart.