Are you one of the thousands of people who is paying more than you should for a checking account?
This is something worth checking.
Thousands of people have a checking account that is costing them way more than it should. According to a new WalletHub analysis of 30 banks’ and credit unions’ checking accounts, the credit reporting site found that the checking account users pay an average of $194 in fees annually. The reason? “The average checking account has approximately 22 total fees, and 66% of accounts have 20-40 different fees,” the report reveals.
WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told Moneyish that the reason consumers are paying so much for their checking accounts is that they’re “paying for fees and features that they don’t necessarily need or use” such as a minimum balance requirement. By choosing a different account — or at least knowing the rules of the checking account you have — you can often avoid many of the fees you inadvertently pay.
Some accounts are much more consumer friendly than others. The WalletHub analysis found that two accounts — the Navy Federal Credit Union Flagship Checking and the USAA Bank Cashback Rewards Checking — would allow a number of average people (not just people with fatty accounts who are earning interest) to actually make money by using the account. But there’s a big catch with these: They’re mostly for people in the military and their families.
The Charles Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking is also great for most people thanks to its minimal fees and generous policies. These include no monthly service fee, unlimited ATM fee rebates at any ATM worldwide, and no minimum deposit to open your account.
On the other hand, certain checking accounts can be extremely expensive, the WalletHub report found. Indeed, for an average user — say, someone who has direct deposit of $3,000 per month and uses the account for typical things like ATM withdrawals, online bill pay and check writing –WalletHub calls out TD Bank TD Simple as being the most expensive for that crowd. “The everyday Joe can pay up to $235 for the TD Bank TD Simple account,” explains Gonzalez. “It has a $6 monthly fee with no options to avoid it, a high overdraft fee, out-of-network ATM fee and a $3 foreign ATM fee.”
Another expensive bet? The Fifth Third Essential Checking, which can be particularly pricey for someone who sends money to family overseas and travels for about a month each year to visit them. The reason is this account “has a high overdraft fee of $37 and high foreign transaction fees, 3.2% and $5 for each foreign ATM transaction and 3.2% for every foreign debit card transaction,” explains Gonzalez.
TD Bank and Fifth Third Bank have not yet replied to our request for comment.
Correction: The WalletHub report previously noted that the The Citizens Bank One Deposit Checking was the costliest for a cash-strapped consumer. This was an error — a WalletHub spokesperson tells Moneyish it was due to “a technical error in the formula we used that has been fixed now.” This story has been updated to reflect that.
© 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved