Common Checking Account Fees, and How to Avoid Them

Common Checking Account Fees, and How to Avoid Them

June 29, 2020

Tagged As: Personal, Business

Do you know what fees your bank or credit union is charging to your checking account?

Here at Hills Bank, we always aim to be transparent with our customers and clearly disclose what fees are associated with our accounts. But that isn’t always the case with other financial institutions. Here are some common fees levied by banks and credit unions, including some that apply even to their most basic checking accounts, and how to avoid them.

Monthly account maintenance fees

Many financial institutions charge monthly maintenance fees for their accounts, while some offer ways for you to avoid those charges by depositing a certain amount of money each month, performing a certain number of transactions, or signing up for associated services like credit cards. These fees come out to an average of $13.47 per month, according to MoneyRates.com. When setting up your checking account, be sure to ask about the monthly maintenance fee, or any other fee that applies each month. We offer a number of checking accounts that have no monthly fees, including Free Checking.

Overdraft / Non-sufficient funds fees

An overdraft or non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee occurs when a debit from your account (such as a transaction, an automated payment, or an ATM withdrawal) exceeds the available balance in your account. Typically, your financial institution will cover the difference to ensure the payment goes through. However, they will also charge a fee – in addition to the amount they had to pay to cover the cost of the transaction. The average overdraft fee is around $32 for each item that must be covered. Hills Bank charges $27 for each item.

Paper statement fees

With Hills Bank, not only can you can access your statements for free online at any time, but we also don’t charge you for paper statements sent through the mail. But we can’t say the same for every financial institution. Nearly a third of banks charge an average of $2.80 per month for paper statements, which adds up to $33.60 per year.

ATM fees

Practically zero financial institutions will charge you for withdrawing cash out of your checking account from one of their own ATMs. But on out-of-network ATM machines, fees from both the ATM owner and your bank or credit union can add up fast. On average, banks charge their customers $1.74 per transaction on these ATMs on top of the average $2.87 transaction levied by the bank that owns the ATM.

We don’t charge fees for our own ATMs or out-of-network ATMs alike. However, you could still be charged by the ATM owner for withdrawing from machines outside of the MoneyPass® network.

Lost debit card fees

On top of the stress and inconvenience that comes with losing your debit card, some financial institutions will charge you a fee to replace it. This amount varies, but is usually not more than $5 to $10. At Hills Bank, we won’t charge you a fee to replace your debit card. Avoiding fees Any financial institution in the United States is required to disclose the fees it could possibly charge to your account. But if you don’t read the fine print carefully, you could miss important information about what circumstances could trigger a fee. Along with reading these disclosures, you can also ask a banker to explain the fees associated with an account in simple terms. Don’t leave their office before you fully understand how fees could apply to you.

Another good way to avoid fees is to only sign up for services you need. Many financial institutions offer premium accounts with “nice-to-have” features, but if you end up having to pay a fee each month, those features might not be worth it. Before you sign up for an account or service, make sure you can meet the requirements to avoid fees – or make peace with the idea of paying for them!

If you have any questions about fees on your Hills Bank account(s), you can stop by any of our 19 locations or speak with a personal banker on the HERE by Hills Bank app. We’ll be happy to help!