Overview: Banks with No Monthly Fees | How to Find Bank Accounts with No Fees, No Maintenance Fees, and No Overdraft Fees
Have you ever noticed how your monthly bank statement is sometimes filled with several debits for purchases you don’t remember making?
Chances are that many of those debits are for a variety of fees and charges that your bank is charging to your account.
Finding banks with the lowest fees or banks with no service fees should be a financial priority for everyone.
Many of the financial institutions that help us manage our money have literally dozens of small fees, penalties, and other costs associated with the checking and savings accounts that they offer.
Though these fees are usually small, they do add up quickly. But how do you go about finding a no monthly fee bank account, banks with no overdraft fees, or banks with no ATM fees?
In this brief article, we will help you discover how to find banks with no monthly service fee, banks with no maintenance fees, and completely no-fee banking. We will give you the top six tips to help you find a bank account with no monthly fees so that you can make sure that your savings are yours alone.
No-Fee Bank Accounts: Do They Exist?
Before the days of debit cards, ATMs on every corner, and mobile money, most banks did offer no-fee bank accounts. They may have charged overdraft fees or a symbolic charge for ordering you a new stack of checks, but banking was generally free of other charges.
With the advent of new forms of banking including mobile apps, debit and credit cards, and other electronic forms of moving money, banks have come up with a whole new set of costs that are passed on to the client. In recent years, however, the proliferation of online banks and checking accounts has given rise to bank accounts with no fees.
Online banks generally have lower overhead costs than brick-and-mortar banks. The fact that they don’t have to pay for the upkeep of physical branch locations and that they usually employ less people allows these banks to keep their costs low and make them amongst the banks with the lowest fees or banks with no monthly fees out there.
Though there are “regular” banks who have begun to offer no-fee bank accounts in order to compete with online banks, most of the banks with no maintenance fees or banks with no monthly service fee are online-based accounts. In addition to offering no-fee banking, many online banks also offer more competitive interest rates and other perks and bonuses to their clients.
Benefits of Bank Accounts with No Fees
Many times, the small print on bank accounts can be hard to understand. Most of us simply want an account where we can have access to our money and save a little bit without too many obstacles or unnecessary fees.
Many banks with no monthly fees, unfortunately, include a number of other promotions and benefits that sometimes can cost you money in the long run. Despite this, finding bank accounts with no monthly fees offers a number of benefits.
The most obvious benefit from finding banks with no service fees is that you will be able to save more of your money.
No one enjoys being charged fees that seem unfair or finding subscription dues to certain financial services you don’t remember signing up for. Finding a no-monthly-fee bank account can help you maintain more control over your money by avoiding those irritating fees that show up every month.
Many of us who run a tight budget and live paycheck to paycheck often struggle with those stiff overdraft fees that most banks charge. A typical penalty for overdraft fees is anywhere between $35 and $40, even if you only withdrew a penny more than what you had in your account. For people who are struggling to make ends meet, those charges can be hard to handle.
Image Source: Banks with No Overdraft Fees
Finding banks with no overdraft fees is a great way to avoid those charges that can put a huge dent in your budget. Sometimes a little leniency and understanding goes a long way, and banks with no overdraft fees can help people on a tight budget while they improve their financial situation.
Lastly, many people detest having to wait in long lines at banks or bank drive-through windows simply to withdraw $20 from their bank account. ATMs make money more accessible, and if you don’t like the idea of carrying around large sums of money, a daily trip to the ATM can allow you to carry just the amount of cash you will need for the day. Regrettably, many banks charge a transaction fee for every visit to the ATM. If your bank charges $1 per ATM withdrawal, a sizable part of your monthly income could be swallowed up by those charges.
Finding banks with no ATM fees is important for those of us who want quick and unlimited access to our funds without being charged for that access.
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Top 6 Tips to Finding Banks with No Monthly Fees
So how do you go about finding bank accounts with no fees attached? What follows are six easy tips to help you find banks with no monthly service fees, banks with no maintenance fees, and no fee bank accounts that work best for your personal financial situation.
1. Understand What Banks with No ATM Fees Really Mean
Every time you go to an ATM to withdraw money, that ATM could be one of three different types. The ATM could be directly affiliated with your bank, it could be an affiliated ATM that your bank shares through a network with other banks, or it could be a completely unaffiliated or non-bank ATM.
When you are searching for banks with no ATM fees, it is important to understand that no bank can completely guarantee zero fees if you withdraw money from a non-affiliated ATM.
According to findabetterbank.com, “When a bank or credit union offers you an account with a ‘no fee’ ATM withdrawal policy, it doesn’t mean you won’t be charged for the withdrawal. It does mean that your bank or credit union will not charge a non-bank ATM fee, but the fee from the non-bank ATM itself will apply. Basically, ‘no fee ATM withdrawals’ means ‘no fee…from us,’ but you’re not granted immunity from all ATM fees.”
Most ATMs in convenience stores, malls, and other public places are non-affiliated ATMs.
To avoid charges and to take advantage of the no fee banking offered by your bank in regards to ATM charges, you will need to find a way to avoid using those ATMs. Big-name banks often have more of their own ATMs and participate in more affiliated ATM networks than smaller banks.
Finding bank accounts with no fees related to ATM charges, then, means you will need to find a bank that has plenty of their own ATMs in a convenient place for you to withdraw your money.
2. Banks with No Monthly Fees and Interest Rates
Sometimes a bank will offer a no monthly fee bank account with absolutely zero interest for that account. If you tend to not have a lot of money saved up in your no fee bank account, then that’s not much of a problem because you probably wouldn’t be drawing much interest if your balance tends to hover around $100.
However, if you do tend to have large amounts of savings stored up in your account, then what you save from your bank with the lowest fees may in fact be working against you through the lack of interest that you are drawing.
For example, let’s say you find a bank with no service fees but that only offers 0.0001% annual percentage yearly interest on your account balance.
On the other hand, an online bank offers a 1% APY but also charges a $5 monthly maintenance fee. During the year, you would be charged $60 in maintenance fees, but if you maintained an average account balance of $20,000, you would make $200 in interest, thus largely offsetting what you lost in maintenance fees.
When searching for bank accounts with no monthly fees, remember to also consider the interest rates offered, especially if you plan on having large amounts of cash in your account.
3. Read the Fine Print on Banks with No Maintenance Fees
Banking is a business, and like any business, the financial institutions that help us manage our money will often try to get us to sign up for additional services and perks that will help them make more money. Many people will get excited about bank accounts with no fees but fail to read the fine print associated with that deal.
For example, some financial institutions may bill themselves as banks with no monthly service fee, but in the fine print you will find that in order to apply for the no fee banking, you also have to set up a direct deposit account between your employer and your bank.
If you employer doesn’t offer that option, then you are stuck having to pay for a monthly service fee that you thought you had avoided.
Other banks that claim to be banks with no overdraft fees will only cancel out those overdraft fees if you also have a savings account with them and maintain a minimum account balance. Reading the fine print on banks with no monthly fees is an important step in knowing what you’re signing up for.
4. Minimum Balance Requirements and Banks with No Maintenance Fees
Many times, banks will charge hefty monthly fees on checking accounts if you don’t maintain a minimum monthly balance. At the same time, these banks with no monthly service fee may cancel those fees if you maintain a balance of between $3,000 and $5,000 in your checking account.
Image Source: Bank Accounts with No Fees
The Globe and Mail states: “Got some cash sitting in a savings account? It could be that your money would work harder in a checking account if it brought your balance up to the level where you qualify for a fee waiver.”
Ask your bank if they do offer bank accounts with no monthly fees for people who maintain a minimum balance. What you save on fees could very well be much more than what you were making on interest in a separate bank account.
5. Stay in School to Take Advantage of Bank Accounts with No Fees
Many banks offer no-fee banking to students who are enrolled in college, high school, or some sort of vocational school. Huffington Post reports that “Chase charges no monthly service fee for college students aged 17 to 24 with proof of student status.
Similarly, Bank of America will waive your monthly maintenance fee if you’re under 23 and enrolled in high school, college, or a vocational program.
U.S. Bank charges no monthly maintenance fee for students enrolled at a high school, university, technical college, or trade school.”
If you’re thinking about continuing your education or are already enrolled as a student, take advantage of the perk of being a student and find banks with no monthly fees for students.
6. Set Up Direct Deposit to Find Banks with No Maintenance Fees
Banks like to see a steady stream of money headed into your account. For that reason, many banks bill themselves as banks with no monthly service fee as long as you sign up for direct deposit. If your employer is open to paying you via direct deposit, it is a simple way to take advantage of no fee banking offered by banks with no monthly fees.
If you don’t have an employer that allows for direct deposit, there are ways to “fool” your bank. If you have a PayPal account or any other means of electronic transfer of funds, you can set up for a monthly transfer of a part of your PayPal balance directly to your bank account.
Most banks will register this as a direct deposit, and you will be able to take advantage of a bank account with no fees though a bit of creativity on your part.
Conclusion—No Fee Banking for Your Financial Peace of Mind
Banking shouldn’t require you to pay large fees. With the abundance of online banks selling themselves as banks with no monthly service fee or banks with no maintenance fees you should be able to find an option that works for you.
Even if you decide to continue banking with a traditional brick-and-mortar bank, there are a number of banks with no monthly fees as long as you read the fine print and understand how to get the most out of what they offer.
With no-fee banking, you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your money is yours alone, and your monthly statement will no longer be filled with those annoying fees and charges. Bank accounts with no fees are available to everyone in today’s world as long as you search for them and follow the simple tips listed above.
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