There's Literally No Reason to Pay This Bank Fee Ever Again

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KEY POINTS

  • Online banks charge fewer fees than brick-and-mortar bank accounts.
  • All the competition among banks these days can work in your favor.
  • Shop around and compare accounts from different banks to get the best deal.

You'll be so much happier without it.

Let's be honest -- no one likes paying fees, especially ones to access your own hard-earned cash. But unless you plan to keep all your money in your home -- which brings its own headaches -- fees are just a natural part of money management.

That said, some fees are more reasonable than others. And there's one bank fee in particular that really doesn't make a lot of sense for anyone anymore.

The bank needs you more than you need it

For decades, pretty much everyone stuck to their hometown bank. Because those banks had branches to maintain, they needed to charge quite a bit in fees to cover the cost of the building itself, its utilities, employees' salaries, and so on. And because people had no other choice, they paid those fees. But we don't live in that world anymore.

Online banks have exploded in recent years, and these don't have large branch networks, so they don't need to lean on their customers as much to cover their expenses. And they've also used this to draw in new customers.

Online banks have done away with common bank fees, including the ever-annoying monthly maintenance fee. This is the fee banks charge customers just for the privilege of having an account with them.

A lot of brick-and-mortar banks still have maintenance fees. Many give customers an option to waive them if they maintain a high enough balance or meet other requirements. But those who fail to do this could actually end up losing money just by keeping their bank account open.

Fortunately, avoiding maintenance fees is really easy these days. There are a bunch of FDIC-insured online checking accounts and savings accounts that can offer you pretty much all the same benefits as a brick-and-mortar bank account. Plus, many online bank accounts include more competitive interest rates on savings.

But online banks have their drawbacks, too. Some feel brick-and-mortar banks offer better customer support. They also make it easier to deposit cash than online-only banks. If these things are important to you, switching to an online bank may not be the best solution. But that doesn't mean you're stuck with account maintenance fees.

How to ditch monthly maintenance fees for good

First things first, do some digging into your current bank accounts to see whether they charge maintenance fees. You can find this out by looking into the account's fee schedule (which may be available online) or by contacting the bank to ask. If you are paying to own your bank account, see if there's any way to waive this fee and think about how realistic these requirements are for you.

Then, compare your account's particulars to some other top bank accounts. Weigh each of them based on the following:

  • Their account offerings
  • Their annual percentage yields (APYs)
  • How easy it is to access your funds
  • The quality of their online and mobile tools
  • Their customer service

If you find a better offer, consider switching banks. But hold onto your old account until you're sure your paychecks arrive in the new account without issue. And double check that any monthly bills you have on autopay are set to come out of your new account.

Should you decide to stick with an account that charges maintenance fees, check how much the fee is and what you have to do to avoid it. Make sure this is feasible for you. You should also keep an eye on any correspondence you receive from the bank about your account, especially if it's related to changes to its fee schedule.

Switching banks can be a pain, but if you're losing money to maintenance fees every month, it's definitely worth the effort. Those few extra dollars you'll hang onto every month will add up over time, especially if you score a higher APY too.

These savings accounts are FDIC insured and could earn you 11x your bank

Many people are missing out on guaranteed returns as their money languishes in a big bank savings account earning next to no interest. Our picks of the best online savings accounts could earn you 11x the national average savings account rate. Click here to uncover the best-in-class accounts that landed a spot on our short list of the best savings accounts for 2024.

Two of our top online savings account picks:

Rates as of Apr 23, 2024 Ratings Methodology
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SoFi Checking and Savings Barclays Online Savings
Member FDIC. Member FDIC.
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4.75/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
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APY: up to 4.60%

APY: 4.35%

Min. to earn APY: $0

Min. to earn APY: $0

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