Standard savings accounts typically come with monthly maintenance fees and excessive withdrawal fees. While some banks charge these fees to hold your money, others waive these fees entirely. Savings account fees are the opposite of what most people want. After all, these accounts are a place to hold your money for safe keeping and perhaps earn some interest. But savings account fees run counter to that goal, eating into your account balance. Here’s what to expect and when you could get them waived.
A financial advisor can help you compare different options for your savings needs and goals.
Types of Savings Account Fees
There are many fees banks might charge, such as monthly maintenance fees and inactivity fees. While banks might waive these fees in some cases, keep in mind that traditional banks tend to be more likely to charge these fees than online banks. Here are some common savings account fees.
1. Monthly Maintenance Fees
Monthly maintenance fees are one of the most common fees you will face with savings accounts. Banks charge these fees simply to hold your money. Most other fees only appear under certain circumstances, such as when you try to withdraw money too often.
This fee varies by bank, but it is usually in the range of $1 to $8 per month. Most banks will waive monthly maintenance fees, but only if you maintain a certain balance.
In most cases, you must keep $100 to $500 in your account, either daily or monthly, to avoid maintenance fees. If you fail to meet that requirement, you might be charged a fee for each month your balance is below the minimum.
Here are monthly maintenance fees for savings accounts from major banks – and how to avoid them:
|Bank Name||Monthly Maintenance Fee||Minimum to Waive Fee|
|Bank of America||$8||$500 daily balance|
|Wells Fargo||$5||$300 daily balance|
|Chase||$5||$300 daily balance|
|U.S. Bank||$4||$300 daily balance|
|PNC||$5||$300 monthly balance|
|TD Bank||$5||$300 daily balance|
2. Excess Withdrawal Fees
These fees come into play when you make too many withdrawals in one month. You should generally conduct daily transactions with a checking account, not savings.
As a result, banks often charge these fees for excessive withdrawals. What constitutes “excessive” can be as few as three withdrawals:
|Bank Name||Excessive Withdrawal Fee||Max Monthly Withdrawals Before Fee|
|Bank of America||$10||6|
Note that these limits only apply to online transactions. If you withdraw your money via an ATM or at the bank, it won’t count against the limit.
3. Inactivity Fees
You might also incur fees if you aren’t using your savings account often enough. For example, there might be a fee if your account has no transactions for 12 consecutive months. You’ll be charged this fee every month until there is activity in your account – or until it has a $0 balance.
This fee should be in line with other fees mentioned here; you might see a fee of around $15. However, you can avoid it by moving money into your account. You can usually set up an automatic transfer to help avoid these fees. Even if it is a small amount, it will still count as account activity.
4. Returned Item Fees
Savings accounts don’t usually allow you to write checks, but they will let you deposit checks into your account. If you deposit a check and the party that issues you the check doesn’t have sufficient funds to cover the deposit, you’ll end up with a returned item fee.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to avoid this fee other than only depositing checks from people you trust. Here are the returned item fees for each bank:
|Bank Name||Returned Item Fee|
|Bank of America||$12 (domestic); $15 (foreign)|
|U.S. Bank||$19 (domestic); $25 (foreign)|
5. Wire Transfer Fees
You might occasionally have to wire money. For instance, wire transfers are common when sensing money internationally. Wire transfers can also be quicker than other methods of sending money, such as writing a check.
However, wire transfers come with hefty fees. Here is what to expect:
|Bank Name||Domestic Incoming||Domestic Outgoing||Foreign Incoming||Foreign Outgoing|
|Bank of America||$15 (waived if you have certain BofA checking accounts)||$30||$16 (waived with certain BofA rewards programs)||$45 for domestic currency; $35 for foreign currency|
|Wells Fargo||$15 (can be waived for large transfers)||$30||$16||$40|
|Chase||$15||$35 or $25 for online transfers||$15||$50 or $40 for online transfers|
Traditional banks charge several fees for savings accounts, both for monthly maintenance and in certain situations. Fees can be as much as $50 per transaction and can quickly add up.
While there are ways to avoid fees with traditional savings accounts, some are tougher to avoid. And if you just don’t have the cash for one month, you might be unable to avoid maintenance fees. Online-only banks often pay higher interest rates (APY) and fewer fees, making them a good alternative for most people.
Tips for Opening a Savings Account
- A financial advisor can help you work through your banking needs and create a plan that works for your unique situation. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- The best savings accounts pay some of the highest rates and often do away with costly fees. See SmartAsset’s list of the best savings accounts to find one that’s right for you.
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