Shopping around for a new checking or savings account can be a daunting task with both brick-and-mortar and online banks advertising seemingly endless options to consumers.
Luckily, there’s one method that can help narrow your search — and save you money.
Avoid bank accounts that tack on these two costs:
- Minimum deposit requirements
- Monthly maintenance/service fees.
Here’s how they can add up and how to avoid them:
1. Minimum deposit requirements
This may not seem like an obvious “fee,” but when a bank requires that you deposit a minimum dollar amount in order to open an account, it certainly comes at a cost to your wallet. And in some cases you can get hit with a fee if you balance dips below that minimum once you start regularly using the account.
Look for a checking and/or savings account that has no deposit (or ongoing balance) requirements so you don’t have to worry about coughing up additional funds just to open a bank account.
If you come across a bank account that best suits your needs, but it has a minimum deposit requirement attached to it, just make sure it’s a manageable amount. There are so many options available that require no minimums that there’s no reason to get stuck with this kind of fee.
2. Monthly maintenance/service fees
Even if your bank doesn’t require a minimum deposit, it may still cost you just to have the account open.
Many banks charge a monthly maintenance, or service, fee to their customers just for having an account. They can range anywhere from $4 to $25.
The good news is that they’re generally avoidable. The easiest way is to sign up for a checking or savings account that doesn’t tack on a monthly fee from the start (the four accounts listed above do not).
If you must open an account at a bank that does have a service charge, see if there are ways to get it waived. Sometimes, setting up a monthly direct deposit is enough to avoid the monthly fee. For savings account, setting up a scheduled direct deposit could actually help you to automate your savings as well.
For those looking to do all their banking in one place, some banks allow account holders to have their monthly fees waived if they set up both a checking and a savings account at the same bank.
As you shop around for a new bank account, make sure you read the fine print before signing up for anything. Knowing the minimum deposit requirements and monthly maintenance/service fees beforehand can save you actual money.
Once you open a new bank account, be on the lookout for other common banking fees, including out-of-network ATM fees, overdraft fees and excessive transactions fees. Avoiding these fees is fairly easy to do if you’re mindful about your money, and it can save you a lot of money in the long run.
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