By M Katie Helle, CPA

On just about every corner as I drive in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, there is either a gas station or a bank.  Two very important business establishments… one allows you to deposit your money so you can pay for gas at the other.  The number of banks seems to be on the incline, which is great but also overwhelming at the same time because there are so many options.  When establishing a banking relationship, there are several important things to consider: convenience, interest rates, types of accounts offered, and bank fees.  Today, we are going to talk about bank fees and what you need to know about them.

Banks provide you, the customer, a variety of services, some of which are cashing your checks or accepting a deposit into your bank account.  Every bank has different types of fees they charge their customers. The most common bank fees you will see in your checking or savings account are monthly maintenance and overdraft fees.

Depending on your bank, monthly maintenance fees are assessed if you don’t maintain the minimum requirements set forth by the bank.  For example, your checking account may require you to have direct deposit and 10 debit card transactions to avoid the monthly fee.  Another bank may charge you a monthly maintenance fee if you don’t keep the minimum balance requirement.

Overdraft fees are assessed when your bank account does not have enough money for the transaction.  Sometimes your bank will allow the transaction to go through where other times it will not.  Either way, a fee is typically charged to your bank account.  These bank fees vary but typically start at $30 per occurrence and will go up depending on the number of times you overdraw your bank account.  For an example of how this fee is assessed, see Understanding a Checking Account.

Because bank fees vary in price, it’s important to understand what fees your bank charges.  Upon opening up your bank account, the bank will provide you a disclosure statement notifying you of the various fees.  From time to time, the bank may change pricing.  When this occurs, they typically will send you a new disclosure statement in the mail.  If you are thinking about opening a bank account, there are a number of banks that offer great options.  Click the links below to learn more about each bank.

Chase Bank

Bank of America

Wells Fargo

Midfirst Bank

Desert Financial Credit Union