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.