Reviewing fees and costs
Banking fees, for everything from using a teller to protecting your account in case you bounce a check, can really add up. Before you open an account, find out what types of fees you might be charged and how much the fees are, and then estimate how many times you might have to pay these fees. A few typical fees and what they cover include:
- Account fee: This is a monthly fee you may pay for simply having an account with the bank.
- Online banking fee: If you choose to do your banking online, you may be charged a monthly fee for the convenience; the fee varies from bank to bank.
- Minimum balance fee: If your account balance falls below a certain level, even if only for a day, you may be charged a fee.
- Bounced check fee: If you write a check for more money than you have in your account, the check will "bounce" and the bank will charge you a fee. Whoever you wrote the check to may charge you a fee as well. The same applies for online bill payments.
- Overdraft protection: When you don't have enough money in your account to cover a check you write, an online bill payment, or debit card use, overdraft protection will allow the check to clear (saving you embarrassment and a bounced check fee from the store where you wrote the check).
- Teller fee: If you choose to make a deposit or withdrawal with the teller, some banks charge a teller fee.
- Account reconciliation fee. It's wise to balance your checkbook every month. If your account doesn't balance correctly, the bank can help you find where the error is, and you may pay a fee for the assistance.
- ATM card fee: Many banks provide an ATM or debit card for free, but some banks charge a fee for providing the card.
- ATM transaction fee for ATMs not owned by bank: You may pay a fee to use any ATM machines that are not owned and operated by your bank. The fee may only be a dollar or two, but if you make many ATM transactions during the month, the fees add up.