5 Common Ways to Avoid Monthly Banking Fees

Many factors may affect bank fees associated with your checking account. While fees and policies will vary depending on your banking institution, by following these general guidelines, you may be able to minimize or, in some cases, eliminate the checking account fees you’re paying.

1. Talk to your bank.

Every financial institution varies, but there are often ways to reduce or eliminate checking account fees. If you aren’t sure what opportunities are available to you, make an appointment with a representative at your bank to discuss your specific situation and products.

2. Maintain a minimum balance.

Some banks will waive monthly fees if you maintain a set balance in your account. Some banks require you don’t go below a minimum daily balance, while others require an average monthly balance. With a set minimum balance, you may need to ensure you always have that amount in your account, whereas with an average balance, the amount can fluctuate so long as the average stays above the required amount. Check your account often so that you don’t accidentally go under the minimum balance.

3. Sign up for direct deposit.

Sometimes, setting up direct deposit for your paycheck or government benefit will help you avoid a monthly fee without having to maintain a minimum balance. Take note, though, as some accounts require a minimum direct deposit amount per calculation period to waive fees. Check with your bank to determine whether the minimum is based on a single deposit or a total of all deposits during the set period.

4. Sign up for online statements.

Your statements will be easily accessible in one place, and you may be able to reduce your monthly fee with some accounts, says Kimberly McDonald, Vice President, Regions’ Consumer Deposit Product Management. Many institutions offer online statements at no charge, but fees may apply to paper statements.

5. Use your bank check card or credit card.

While not as common as the other options, you may be able to avoid a monthly bank fee simply by using your bank’s credit or debit card when making purchases; however, there may be a minimum number of times you need to use it per month to waive the fee.

By managing your banking accounts with the tools available, you can minimize unnecessary fees and maximize your savings.