What Is A Bank Account Maintenance Fee?: Understand The Costs

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Many banks charge a bank account maintenance fee, either monthly or annually, as a matter of course; as a bank account holder, you may or may not be aware of these fees. However, some institutions offer fee waivers if certain minimum requirements are met. Understanding your bank’s specific policy on this matter is important, so you understand the fees you’re being charged and how to avoid them, if possible.

Why Do Banks Charge An Account Maintenance Fee For?

Does your bank charge a bank account maintenance fee? Many banks do, though not all. These charges occur periodically, generally either annually or monthly. It is important to note that, for some banks, there are ways of avoiding maintenance fees, often by maintaining a minimum balance that varies by institution, or by depositing a certain amount via direct deposit from your employer. Certain financial institutions, particularly online banks or credit unions, rarely charge maintenance fees, if ever.

If you have a bank account, you’re probably aware that many banks charge their customers a lot of different fees, and a bank account maintenance fee is one such charge. Banks often need to charge these fees if the interest derived from the funds in an account doesn’t cover the cost of providing and maintaining the account. In this sense, it’s often useful to think of a bank account maintenance fee as, essentially, a minimum balance fee, even though some banks, like Citibank, may charge both. And, like a minimum balance fee, maintenance fees can often be avoided by maintaining a certain amount of money in your account. This amount varies by bank.

Why Do Banks Charge Maintenance Fees?

Not all banks charge maintenance fees, but nearly all major banks do. Some try to keep their maintenance fees minimal but require a high balance to avoid them; for example, US Bank charges between $6.95 and $8.95 per month but requires either a $1,500 balance or $1,000 in direct deposits to avoid the fee. Some fees are higher but are easier to avoid by maintaining a relatively low minimum balance. TD Bank fits this mold well, as its bank account maintenance fee is about twice as much as US Bank ($15 per month), but it requires only a minimum balance of $100 to avoid the charge. Knowing what your bank charges, if anything, and how to avoid it can help you save money in the long run.

If you’re wondering how else you can avoid a bank account maintenance fee, there are several ways aside from maintaining the minimum balance at a major banking institution. For one, online banks and credit unions generally do not charge maintenance fees. Also, even many large banks do not charge a bank account maintenance fee on their customers’ savings accounts. For example, SunTrust does not charge a maintenance fee for its savings accounts but charges $7 a month for its checking accounts. If you’re not happy with your current bank’s maintenance fees, you can choose an institution that offers a fee structure you’re happy with.

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