Banking 
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Don’t Pay Banking Fees Ever

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Take a look at your bank’s checking account and tell me what your account maintenance fee is. If the answer isn’t $0, you’re getting ripped off big time. I just looked at the Bank of America Advantage Account (checking) and saw that the account maintenance fee was $20 a month (I bank at BoA but I don’t use that account). Twenty dollars a month! That’s $240 a year and that’s approximately $240 more than what you should be paying for banking. It’s ridiculous!

This is how I think banking, in general, works. The borrower should be the paying the lender and in 99.9% of banking transactions, this is the case. When you borrow money from the credit cards, you pay them. When you give money to the bank, they’re basically borrowing it from you, so they should be paying you interest too. In most cases, they do, but when did the ability to transact on your balance mean a minimum charge of $240 a year? There are enough banks of there that you can find one that won’t charge you to do business with them.

I’ve Never Paid This Fee

In my brief history with banks, I’ve never paid a single maintenance fee. While it sounds like a great streak, it’s not by chance and it’s not at all difficult to do. JD recently just wrote about how he made the switch from a bank to a credit union, in part to avoid US Bank’s $8 a month maintenance fee. He’s been paying that fee for eighteen years! For those keeping score at home, that’s $1,728 in fees plus he said the customer service was terrible. Now, he’s at a credit union where they don’t charge him a minimum balance or account maintenance fee, which is how business should be done.

The only fee I’ve ever paid was the hidden account maintenance fee that no one ever thinks about. My checking account gets some insultingly low 0.01% interest rate but the bank can lend it out on a mortgage for at least 6%. They can lend it out for more to other banks, to home equity loans, to car loans, to anything and make more than 0.01%; that’s the hidden account maintenance fee and the only one I’ll pay for the convenience of ATM access.

How To Find No Fee Accounts

So, if you’re paying more than $0 a month for banking services, my advice is to find a new bank or credit union who is willing to charge you zero. If you’re at a loss as to where to go, keep a mental note of the banks and credit unions you see on your drive into work or school. When you get to a computer, check to see if they offer accounts without fees. If they do, sign up and say good-bye to worthless fees forever.

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18 Responses to “Don’t Pay Banking Fees Ever”

  1. Minimum Wage says:

    I just looked at the Bank of America Advantage Account (checking) and saw that the account maintenance fee was $20 a month

    WHat’s the advantage in that?

  2. jim says:

    Haha, they never said it was to YOUR advantage :)

  3. Bas says:

    LOL I had a similar issue with BoA when I had a business checking… They charged $15/month for it. I complained and said I wanted to close it and then they waived the fee for a year. Now I gotta go and close it this December before they start charging again.

  4. Laura says:

    I had to switch from BoA for charging so much in fees and so little in interest. I use a local CU and my hisband is with Wachovia. The joint account is at INg and so far, it’s been doing well.

  5. plonkee says:

    Fortunately, almost all banking in the UK is free, and my current (checking) account pays 6% interest. There’s something to be said for this side of the pond I reckon.

  6. Posco says:

    My checking account with Citi used to be free from maintenance charges only on months in which there was a direct deposit (i.e. from an employer) or something like that… Now I use a 0% interest fee-free account. Make sure you’re up to date on your bank’s fee rules!

  7. To be honest I had no idea anyone still paid those maintenance fees. There are plenty of regional banks and credit unions that not only offer free checking accounts, but also free ATM transactions, and pay YOU interest when you meet their minimum balance requirements (requirement only applies to get the interest rate, maintenance fee is usually $0 regardless of the minimum balance). Also, there are nationwide banks that will give you a free checking account if you use them for direct deposit, which is a no-brainer given that anyone who has a regular job with a paycheck probably uses direct-deposit anyway.

  8. MoneyNing says:

    Most banks eliminate the banking fees if you have direct deposit from your employer. Since most of us probably have this option, we should take advantage of it.

  9. donna says:

    This is why my husband and I have used credit unions for over 20 years now.

    There is NO reason to let banks rip you off. None.

  10. thomas says:

    “most” banks offer free checking with direct deposit. I have boa, but only because I wanted a national bank in case I need cash. The checking account has no fees, and of course pays no interest. Since this account is only for emergency cash and the balance is low, I’m not losing much.

  11. Jac says:

    I went to the UK for three months four years ago, and opened a bank account to get paid over there. I left it with less than a pound in it, and ‘forgot’ about it til this year. When I rang them recently to check if it was still open, mostly afraid that it would now be overdrawn by 50 pounds, I found that my 87pence had been sitting there, accruing another 0.1 pence in interest, with no fees. It was great!

  12. rstlne says:

    I’ve never had an account fee at Commerce Bank either. However, this bank just got acquired by TD Bank, so I’m not sure how long that will last.

  13. jigga says:

    I don’t pay fees, but a co-worker pays $9 a month for her checking account. I told her that was rediculus and she said “I keep it like that so that if I ever need to borrow money I won’t have a problem” That sorta seems like a oxymoron, to have to pay just to be able to borrow money.

  14. Barbara says:

    My son and daughter-in-law had accounts with B of A; they lowered cc limits without notice; customer service was terrible; fees ,etc. They are looking for small independent bank or credit union who actually wants their business (they always pay on time) ;The “big” banks like B of A just don’t care; they are out to make as much off you as they can; I have been with a small bank for years with no fees. It is the only way to go.

  15. Rodney says:

    i am with chase, they never charged me a service fee, on my savings account if i had a minimum of $300.00 dollars but now this is the second month that i’ve notice my savings been dissapering by $4.00 dollars a month, so i started looking for banks that charges no fees and ended up on this site.I got some good advice,it’s time i switch my bank.These banks are using our money to make money, and on top of that, charging us service fees and hidden fees how ridiculous.

  16. Dianne says:

    Yep, Thanks a lot Jim. I use Credit Unions one allows transfers from any ATM and refunds the fees and the other is local. I have also noticed for the most part local banks don’t charge as much as BOA or WF. So you are right it only makes sense not to use the large banks.

    Take care and God Bless from Summerville SC.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I see lots of advice to find a credit union that doesn’t charge a fee but no recommendations. Where are these no-fee credit unions? Name some names. Name one name.

  18. sidneyfalco says:

    I see lots of advice to find a no-fee credit union but no recommendations.
    Where are they? Name names. Name one name.


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