Best Bank Accounts To Reduce Fees

Did you know that the average person pays over $150 per year in fees just to have a checking account? We hope that this information can save you money in the long run. Below we are listing the best bank accounts we have found to eliminate fees and save you money.

There aren't many banks out there that are designed for those with little liquid cash flow. Most banks avoid offering all the best features for lower level accounts, like no maintenance fees, no minimum balance requirement, interest, legitimate overdraft protection, and free usage of ATMs outside of their own network. Interestingly enough, there are some banks that offer all those features, but they lack physical branches where you can go to conduct your business. Instead, they operate fully online, which can be a nuisance to those who prefer a real-world presence.

Overdraft protection is one of the most hotly contested features of most checking accounts. Over-drafting is a common problem for those who live paycheck to paycheck, or for those who have little regular income and often lose track of their finances. You might think that overdraft protection is therefore meant to help, but in many instances those features only end up costing you more overall. For instance, if you were to attempt to make a purchase or ATM withdrawal that exceeds your available funds, the bank may allow the transaction to go through, and the 'protection' is that they allow the transaction to occur for a penalty fee.

The problem with this is that it may not always be obvious that it is happening to your account. While it is a legal requirement for banks to clearly portray all options to their customers, a recent study by Pew found that over half of all bank customers who received an overdraft penalty have no recollection of opting in to a overdraft protection program. The same study found that nearly everyone who was charged the penalty would have preferred the charge that spawned the penalty to be rejected instead of allowed for an additional fee.

Large-scale banks are throwing more fees at their customers than ever before, and the only way to avoid those fees is to maintain a certain level of activity or value within your account. Monthly maintenance fees might go into effect if a minimum of $1,000 isn't kept in the account. ATM fees can reach $5 per transaction when conducted out of their ATM network. Overdraft protection penalty fees are usually around $25 per instance of overdraft. Even just a few years ago, these penalties were no where near as prevalent as they are today.

If you want to avoid the worst banks out there for those with little cash flow, you should consider one of the following three bank accounts. These accounts have been vetted by MONEY, which releases an annual survey of all available banks and narrows them down to their key features.

1. Ally Interest Checking

This account requires no minimum balance, which is ideal for those living paycheck to paycheck. Even though it is a checking account, it earns a minimum of 0.1 percent interest, and it pays for up to $10 in fees related to out-of-network ATMs every month. The account can be linked with a savings account to avoid overdrafts, and the debit card associated with the account will not allow transactions that go over the combined value of all linked accounts. If the account goes below zero balance, scheduled payments or outstanding checks could trigger a penalty of $25.

2. Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking

This account also doesn't require a minimum balance, and there are no overdraft protection fees or policies in place. However, the account does require a linked brokerage account, which has a $1,000 minimum when opened individually. When opened at the same time as this checking account, the brokerage account does not require the minimum balance. There is no limit to the number of reimbursed third-party ATM fees, and the account earns up to 0.06 percent interest. If both accounts are at zero balance when a transaction is attempted, it will either be rejected, or it will trigger an insufficient funds penalty of $25 for checks and auto-payments.

3. Aspiration Summit Checking

As with the other two accounts, this one does not have a minimum balance requirement, and it reimburses ATM fees each month. If the account has less than $2,500 in it, it will earn 0.25 percent interest, but if it has more than $2,500, it will earn 1 percent interest. There is no required linked account, which means there is no classic overdraft protection, but there is a $33 penalty for auto-payments and bounced checks. Insufficient funds at an ATM or during a purchase with a debit card will not trigger a fee, and the transaction will be rejected. However, their website claims they will waive the overdraft fee if the occurrence of such an overdraft is rare. The account isn't available right away, unfortunately, but it only takes about 7-14 days for your account to be activated after sign up.

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