List of Bank Fees to Watch Out For

Ever since my banking fiasco, involving my Taylor, Bean, & Whitaker bounced escrow check and the overdraft fees I incurred, but were then reversed by Chase, I’ve been searching for a new bank to park my money. The research has been eye opening, to say the least. I’ve spent hours pouring over fee schedules at major and minor banks, and I’m amazed at some of the fees that are charged.

Before you sign up for a new bank account, be sure to read all the fine print in the fee schedule. A checking account might be “free” and not charge a monthly fee, but you might get charged for writing too many checks in one month.

A lot of fees make sense, and banks do have to make money somehow. However, it’s good to know the kinds of fees that are charged before you sign up for an account. The fees are generally hidden in the fine print, and if you don’t read the customer agreement, you won’t be aware of what you can be charged.

I looked at the fees from 5 major banks (Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, US Bank, and Wells Fargo), and the following list is a rundown of the types of fees charged.

Checking, Savings, & Money Market Account Fees

  • Early Account Closing Fees
  • Negative Balance Closing Fees
  • Mini-Statements at Home Bank ATM
  • Full Statement at Home Bank ATM
  • Transaction Fee for Non-Home Bank ATM
  • Denied Transaction Fee for Non-Home Bank ATM
  • Balance Inquiry Fee for Non-Home Bank ATM
  • Fee for going over ATM transaction limit
  • Check Card Replacement Fee
  • Foreign Transaction Fee (with Check Card use)
  • Fee for going over check writing limits
  • Checking account monthly fee
  • Overdraft Fees
  • Continuous Overdraft Fees (not the same as overdraft fees)
  • NSF Fees
  • Returned Deposited Item Fee
  • Overdraft Protection Transfer Fee
  • Returned Statement Fee
  • Dormant Account Fee
  • Counter Check Fee
  • Online Bill Pay Fee
  • Phone Bill Pay Service Fee
  • Failed Payment Fee (Online Bill Pay)
  • Excess Activity Fee for Savings Accounts

Other Bank Service Fees

  • Account Research Fee (minimum charge applies)
  • Cashier’s Check Fee
  • Money Order Fees
  • Stop Payment Fees
  • Traveler’s Cheque Fees
  • Wire Transfer Fees
  • Statement Copy Fees
  • Cancelled Check Copy Fees
  • Fee for returning original checks with statement
  • Notary Fee
  • International Item Deposited Service Fee

Not all of the banks I surveyed charged for every item on the list, but all of the banks charged for most of these items. There are also several additional fees that I didn’t list…fees for things that most customers wouldn’t use frequently, such as legal services.

When you sign up for a new bank account, make sure you know what fees are charged. It is also important to know when deposits are made available, what order transactions are posted to your account (in the order they occurred or highest dollar amount first), and any requirements you need to meet to waive monthly service fees.

Are you aware of any typical fees that I missed?

Photo by heidielliott.


By , on Sep 28, 2009
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. bt:

    haha no fees for me

  2. This is hugely helpful, especially for those youngins’ just branching out on their own.

    Many thanks.

  3. That is a helpful article, the banks sure have a fee for everything.

    Thanks for writing it.

  4. I think that it is so ridiculous that companies find any and every which way to take more money from people. We had a checking account that had a monthly service fee of $20 because we didn’t have a balance of $15k! Are you kidding?!! We actually got the charges reimbursed, and changed to a free account when we complained. I agree that it is very important to read all the fine print.

  5. marci:

    PS – good recap.
    I had NO clue there were so many fees ‘available’… :(

  6. marci:

    Do you have Sterling Savings there?
    (Formerly Western)

    It’s an in person type of bank – I don’t do online anything
    except check my balances.
    My checking acct is free – my savings acct is free.
    Online checking writing is free (they say -I don’t have it) if you
    do 2 transactions per month. Less and it costs.
    No charged for mailed paper statements.

    Yes there’s an overdraft fee, but I have overdraft protection – free.

    Unless I want a special service, I have paid NOTHING for years and years at that bank…. and if there is ever an issue, a phone call or a walk in and it’s been handled very well.

    • Lynnae:

      We do have Sterling. I’ll have to look into that bank. I’m going to try to make the rounds tomorrow to get some info on some local banks.

  7. Penny:

    While this doesn’t deal with banks, per se, I made the mistake of getting credit protection through my credit cards when I was younger. The fee was contingent upon my balance, so as my balance increased, so did the fee. I didn’t know that credit card companies are required to refund fraudulent changes. Now, you can get credit checks for free once a year. Watch out for gimmicks. This “protection” certainly didn’t help me when I had to wrangle with Bank of America, who put me in a position where I felt I had to close my account. ( I could go on, but since I wrote about it on my blog, I’ll spare you the details.)

  8. Lynnae, have you considered banking with a credit union? We have virtually no fees at our credit union, because they are not in the business to make money…I believe that they are a non-profit. I’ve had an account with one of our local credit unions since I was 15 or 16, and it is wonderful because the people who work there have worked there “forever”, are truly nice people, and want to serve customers…unlike our experience with Wells Fargo, which we eventually left because of their impoliteness, turnover, and constantly adding new fees each year just to bank with them. Also beware that Wells Fargo (and possibly other banks) which offer a “free” checking account as long as you have a significant amount of money being directly deposited into your account each month, will literally charge you a fee if you walk into the bank to do anything at all, and will also charge a fee if you call on the phone to ask a question. It’s basically an “ATM” checking account where you must do every bit of your banking via the ATM, or you get charged. Highway robbery, in my opinion. The banks earn enough from loans and credit card interest that they don’t need to be doing this.

    • Lynnae:

      I think that’s the most frequently asked question on this blog. I used to bank at the same C.U. that you do, I believe, and they were great!

      Then we moved here, and I initially had an account at our local credit union. They changed their fee structure and started charging for crazy things like too many transactions made in the actual building, as opposed to online. It was basically an online account, like you mentioned. And their new monthly fees for keeping an account with them were higher than any other banks in the area. So we closed our account.

      It’s been a few years, so I should really check to see if they’ve restructured their fees again, but down here, the credit union hasn’t been a great option.

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