How monthly bank maintenance fees work, and ways to avoid them

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  • Many banks charge monthly maintenance fees in exchange for their services.
  • There are usually ways to waive the fees, such as keeping a minimum balance.
  • Numerous banks don’t charge monthly maintenance fees at all, including Capital One 360 and Ally.
  • See Insider’s picks for the best no-fee checking accounts.

What is a monthly maintenance fee?

A monthly maintenance fee (sometimes called a monthly service fee) is money a bank charges you for working with the company. The fee is usually automatically withdrawn from your account each month.

In some cases, you’ll pay the fee no matter what. But many banks let you waive the fee if you meet certain requirements. For example, you may pay $10 each month — unless you maintain a $1,500 daily balance, in which case you’ll pay $0.

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If a bank has multiple types of checking or savings accounts, different ones will probably come with different fees. Often, a more robust account charges a higher fee. A basic checking account may charge $5 per month, while a rewards checking account may charge $12 per month, for instance.

How to avoid a monthly maintenance fee

Most banks make it possible to waive monthly maintenance fees. 

In many cases, you’ll need to maintain a certain balance. You could waive the fee if you keep a minimum daily balance or an average daily balance over the course of the month.

Some checking accounts let you waive the charge if you make a minimum number of purchases with your debit card each month. Others waive it if you make a certain amount in direct deposits.

Your ability to avoid the service fee renews every month. Maybe you don’t qualify to waive the fee one month because your balance drops below a certain amount. You can still waive it the following month if you keep a higher balance.

Monthly maintenance fees can add up quickly, especially if you have multiple accounts. So you probably want to choose a bank where you’re eligible to waive the fees. Or go with a company that doesn’t charge monthly service fees at all.

Monthly maintenance fees charged by the largest US banks

Here are the largest banks in the US by number of branches. We’ve listed their monthly maintenance fees for checking and savings accounts, as well as how to waive them.

For institutions with more than one checking/savings account, we’ve listed the monthly maintenance fee for the most basic or popular account option.

Wells Fargo

Checking fee: $12 for Wells Fargo Everyday Checking. Waive it by maintaining a $500 minimum daily balance, making $500 in direct deposits, linking a Wells Fargo campus ATM or debit card, or being ages 17 to 24.

Savings fee: $5 for Wells Fargo Way2Save Savings. Avoid it by maintaining a $300 minimum daily balance, automatically transferring $25 from your Wells Fargo checking account, automatically transferring $1 per business day from checking, making one Save as You Go transfer from checking, or being under age 24.

Chase

Checking fee: $12 for Chase Total Checking®. Avoid it by depositing $500 per month, having a $1,500 balance at the beginning of every day, or averaging a $5,000 daily balance.

Savings fee: $5 for Chase Savings. To waive it, start each day with a $300 balance, autosave $25, link it to Chase College Checking℠ for overdraft protection, be under age 18, or link it to a variety of other Chase accounts.

Bank of America

Checking fee: $4.95 for Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking. Waive it by signing up for the Preferred Rewards program or by being a student under age 24.

Savings fee: $8 for Bank of America Advantage Savings. Avoid it by keeping a $500 daily balance or by linking this account to another Advantage account.

US Bank

Checking fee: $6.95 for US Bank Easy Checking. Waive it by setting up $1,000 in direct deposits per month, maintaining a $1,500 average balance, or being age 65 or older.

Savings fee: $4 for US Bank Standard Savings. No fee with a $300 daily balance or $1,000 average balance, or if you are under age 18.

PNC Bank

Checking fee: None for PNC Bank Virtual Wallet.

Savings fee: $5 for PNC Bank Standard Savings. Avoid it by keeping a $300 average monthly balance, automatically transferring $25 per month into savings, or being under age 18.

BB&T Bank

Checking fee: $5 for BB&T Fundamentals. There’s no way to waive this fee.

Savings fee: None for BB&T eSavings Account.

Regions Bank

Checking fee: $11 for Regions LifeGreen Checking. Waive it by maintaining a $1,500 average monthly balance, making one $500 direct deposit, or making $1,000 combined in direct deposits.

Savings fee: None for Regions LifeGreen Savings.

TD Bank

Checking fee: $15 for TD Bank Convenience Checking. Avoid it by maintaining a $100 daily balance or by being age 17 through 23.

Savings fee: $5 for TD Simple Savings. No fee if you keep a $300 daily balance, or if you’re under age 18 or over age 62. There’s no fee for the first year if you set up recurring $25 transfers from your checking account.

Banks with no monthly maintenance fees

Thankfully, there are plenty of banks and credit unions that don’t charge monthly fees at all, which makes banking more affordable and less confusing.

Most institutions without monthly maintenance fees are online companies. There are a few brick-and-mortar banks that don’t charge fees on certain accounts, so those could be good options if you’re set on in-person banking.

Here are the companies that don’t charge monthly maintenance fees:

  • Alliant Credit Union
  • Ally
  • American Express
  • Aspiration: There are no monthly fees on the regular Aspiration Account, but there are if you upgrade to the Aspiration Plus Account
  • Axos Bank
  • Barclays
  • BB&T: This bank charges some maintenance fees, but not for BB&T eSavings Account.
  • Betterment
  • BMO Harris: BMO Harris charges fee on some accounts, but not on BMO Harris Smart Advantage Checking Account.
  • Capital One 360
  • Charles Schwab
  • Chime
  • Comenity Direct
  • CIT Bank
  • Discover
  • First Republic Bank: There’s no fee for First Republic Passbook Savings.
  • HMBradley
  • Huntington Bank: No monthly service fee if you choose Huntington Asterisk-Free Checking.
  • HSBC Direct
  • Lili
  • Live Oak Bank
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • NBKC Bank
  • One
  • Pentagon Federal Credit Union: There’s no fee on PenFed Premium Online Savings.
  • PNC Bank: You won’t pay a monthly service fee on PNC Bank Virtual Wallet.
  • Porte
  • Radius Bank
  • Regions: Regions charges fees on some accounts, but not on Regions LifeGreen Savings.
  • Robinhood
  • Sallie Mae
  • SoFi
  • Synchrony
  • TAB Bank: There’s no fee on TAB High-Yield Savings.
  • Third Federal: Third Federal charges fees on some accounts, but not on Third Federal High-Yield Savings.
  • TIAA
  • USAA
  • Varo Bank
  • Venmo
  • Vio Bank
  • Wealthfront
  • WebBank

Monthly maintenance fees can cost you a lot of money. Ideally, you’d choose a bank that doesn’t charge monthly fees, or one that makes it easy for you to waive them.

Laura Grace Tarpley is the associate editor of banking and mortgages at Personal Finance Insider, covering mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. She is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF). Over her four years of covering personal finance, she has written extensively about ways to save, invest, and navigate loans.

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