Photo: Flickr via quinnanya
It’s more expensive than ever to Bank in America, a new study by Money Rates.com shows. Since the end of 2011, the average checking account fees rose in every major category, a stark contrast to the 72 per cent of credit unions that still offer free checking.
Here’s where banks are really hitting consumers in the wallet:
- Minimum required to open an account. The average amount required to open a checking account was $408.76 in this survey, up from $391.41 in the previous year. Requirements like these tend to drive out lower-income customers and might have something to do with the rising number of under- and unbanked consumers in the U.S.
- Monthly service fees. Average: $12.08, up from $11.28, and a total of $145 per year. Size matters here. At large retail banks, monthly service fees averaged $13.88, a full $4 more than small banks.
- Minimum balance for fee waiver. “Banks will often waive the monthly fee for customers with more on deposit, but the amount you have to keep in your account to get this waiver is going up,” according to Money Rates. Today’s average is at $4,446.57, up from $3,590.83.
- Overdraft fees. Average: $29.83, up from $29.23.
- Percentage of accounts offering free checking. Just 35.3 per cent of banks offered to waive maintenance fees, down from 38.8 per cent.
- ATM fees. “ATM fees also increased, both for bank customers using out-of-network machines and for non-customers using a bank’s ATM,” according MoneyRates.
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