Monthly Service Fees: How Much They Run and How to Avoid Them

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Updated on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Bank accounts often carry a fee — called a monthly service fee or a monthly maintenance fee — simply for being open. Checking account monthly fees alone can start at $5 per month, which could mean spending upwards of $60 per year just to maintain.

The good news is that there are ways you can avoid paying a monthly service fee, such as by keeping a minimum balance in your account. Here’s how much a bank’s monthly fee might cost you as well as some ways you might be able to avoid paying it.

What is a monthly maintenance fee?

A monthly maintenance fee is an expense that banks and credit unions charge consumers simply to maintain an account. However, not all banks or accounts charge a monthly service fee, and some of the financial institutions that do offer options for waiving it.

To qualify for a waiver of the monthly maintenance fee, banks typically offer terms and conditions that customers must meet, such as maintaining a certain minimum balance in the account or making regular direct deposits into the account.

How much are major bank account monthly fees?

Monthly maintenance fees at major banks generally range from $5 to $25 per month, with the average monthly service fee being around $13.95. That being said, some banks don’t charge any monthly fees at all, whereas others have monthly fees that exceed this range.

Here are the monthly fees charged for savings and checking accounts at five of the largest banks in the U.S.:

Monthly service fees at major banks in the U.S.
BankMonthly saving account feesMonthly checking account feesFee waiver offered? (Y/N)
Bank of America$8$4.95 to $25Y
U.S. Bank$0 to $10$6.95 to $24.95Y
Chase$5 to $25$4.95 to $25Y
TD Bank$5 to $15$5.99 to $25Y
Wells Fargo$5 to $12$5 to $30Y

Bank of America monthly maintenance fee

Bank of America savings account fees: The Bank of America Advantage Savings Account comes with a monthly maintenance fee of $8.

Bank of America checking account fees: There are a few different options for Bank of America checking accounts, and each carries a different monthly service fee. The basic checking account, Advantage SafeBalance Banking, is $4.95 per month, while the Advantage Plus Banking account has a $12 monthly fee. The premium personal checking account, Advantage Relationship Banking, runs $25 per month.

How to avoid Bank of America’s monthly service fee: You may qualify for a fee waiver for all three types of checking accounts and the savings account, but the conditions vary according to the type of account. For instance, if you open an Advantage SafeBalance Banking account, you can avoid the fee for each statement cycle that you are enrolled in Preferred Rewards or if you are a student under the age of 24 who is enrolled in school.

U.S. Bank monthly maintenance fee

U.S. Bank savings account fees: U.S. Bank offers a Standard Savings Account ($4 per month). It also offers two money market accounts with no monthly service fees as well as an Elite Money Market Account for $10 per month for those with higher balances.

U.S. Bank checking account fees: U.S. Bank offers Easy Checking ($6.95 per month), Gold Checking ($14.95 per month) and Platinum Checking ($24.95 per month).

How to avoid U.S. Bank’s monthly service fee: You can waive the monthly fees for each type of account, but the conditions vary. The Platinum Select Money Market Savings, Package Money Market Savings and Retirement Money Market accounts all have no monthly maintenance fee.

The monthly fee for each of the three U.S. Bank checking accounts can be waived by meeting certain conditions, such as maintaining an average account balance or receiving a certain amount in direct deposits.

Chase monthly maintenance fee

Chase savings account fees: In terms of savings accounts, Chase offers Chase Savings ($5 per month) and Chase Premier Savings ($25 per month).

Chase checking account fees: Chase offers a range of checking accounts, as well, including Chase Secure B-anking ($4.95 per month), Chase Total Checking ($12 per month) and Chase Premier Plus Checking ($25 per month).

How to avoid Chase’s monthly service fee: You can qualify for a fee waiver for the Total and Premier Plus checking accounts and the Chase savings accounts by meeting conditions such as receiving a certain amount in direct deposits. There is no option to waive the monthly service fee for the Chase Secure Banking checking account.

TD Bank monthly maintenance fee

TD Bank savings account fees: TD Bank offers three savings accounts, each with a different monthly maintenance fee: TD Simple Savings ($5 per month), TD Growth Money Market (an investment account, $12 per month) and TD Beyond Savings ($15 per month).

TD Bank checking account fees: TD Bank has three different checking accounts, also with varying monthly service fees: TD Simple Checking ($5.99 per month), TD Convenience Checking ($15 per month) and TD Beyond Checking ($25 per month).

How to avoid TD Bank’s monthly service fee: You can qualify for monthly fee waivers for each of the TD Bank accounts by meeting requirements such as maintaining a minimum daily balance or receiving a certain amount in direct deposits each month.

Wells Fargo monthly maintenance fee

Wells Fargo savings account fees: Way2Save Savings ($5 per month) and Platinum Savings ($12 per month) are the two most common savings account options available from Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo checking account fees: Wells Fargo has many different checking account options, including Clear Access Banking ($5 per month), Everyday Checking ($10 per month), Preferred Checking ($15 per month) and Portfolio by Wells Fargo ($30 per month).

How to avoid Wells Fargo’s monthly service fee: You can qualify for a fee waiver for each of these accounts by meeting certain requirements, such as carrying a minimum daily balance or receiving direct deposits into the account.

How do I avoid a monthly maintenance fee?

A small number of banks offer checking and savings accounts with no monthly maintenance fees at all, which means you don’t even have to worry about meeting the requirements for a fee waiver. While this option is obviously the easiest way to dodge a monthly service fee, you can also waive monthly fees by meeting certain account requirements each month. However, keep in mind that not all accounts offer the option to waive the monthly fee.

If you do have an account with a waivable monthly service fee, note that each bank and each type of account has a specific list of criteria that you must satisfy in order to qualify for a fee waiver. This often includes:

  • Maintaining a minimum daily balance: Sometimes you can avoid paying a monthly fee by maintaining a minimum balance in your account.
  • Making a certain number (or type) of deposits: You might also qualify for a fee waiver by setting up a targeted amount of automatic or direct deposits each month.
  • Meeting other conditions: Another way you might be able to waive an account’s monthly maintenance fee is if you meet a certain condition, such as being an active student, under a certain age or a senior citizen.

Monthly service fee FAQ

Banks usually charge fees to earn a profit and cover operating expenses, such as personnel costs and utilities. Service fees of all sorts, including monthly maintenance fees, are part of most financial institutions’ standard balance sheets and are a way to entice customers to maintain minimum daily balances and make certain kinds of transactions like direct deposits.

There are banks that do not charge monthly fees for their accounts. Most of these banks are online banks — such as Chime, Ally and Capital One — which all offer no-fee checking accounts. Online banks are often able to extend these perks to their customers because they don’t have the operating expenses of brick-and-mortar banks.

On the flipside, you also won’t usually have the option to walk in and take care of your banking needs in person. Also note that while there are no monthly service fees for these accounts, you could still face other fees, such as ATM fees or overdraft fees.

While monthly maintenance fees do comprise a large segment of all fees that banks and credit unions charge, there are other potential costs to look for before opening your account:

  • ATM fees: These fees can range anywhere from $1.50 to $3.50 or more if your checking or savings account does not come with unlimited withdrawals or does not cover withdrawals from out-of-network ATMs. If you exceed your ATM usage quota or withdraw money from a different bank ATM than your own, you may face additional fees.
  • Non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees: You might be charged an NSF fee if you purchase or attempt to purchase something in an amount that exceeds what is available in your account. NSF fees average around $30.50.
  • Overdraft fees: Similar to NSF fees, overdraft fees are charged when you spend more than the amount in your account and your bank covers the transaction. These fees typically average around $30.
  • Foreign transaction fees: You might be charged a fee for transactions you make outside of the U.S. This fee can range from 1% to 3% of the transaction amount.