I belong to a credit union, and because I’m an older adult, I’ve had a free checking account for years.
However, checking accounts can be expensive and complex: up to $800 a year for 49 different fees if you choose the wrong account for your needs.
In a study by WalletHub, “Checking Account Cost and Transparency Studies, checking accounts from 35 large banks and credit unions were compared to determine how costs vary across institutions and types of users. It also evaluated how difficult it is to find this information online since most people don’t take the time to research checking accounts.
2015 checking account cost report:
- The less money you have, the more a checking account will cost you. The average cash-strapped consumer pays about $470 in fees each year.
- All consumers can save on everyday banking by choosing checking accounts from credit unions and online-only banks.
- Santander extra20 Checking is the best overall checking account on the market right now, topping three out of the five consumer profile scenarios WalletHub considered. This account offers a $20 reward each month for making a direct deposit in excess of $1,500 and two online bill payments. However, you’ll have to open a savings account as well.
2015 checking account transparency report:
The average checking account has about 25 total fees. Surprisingly, traditional banks offer the most transparency regarding key account terms, while online-only accounts provide less visibility than the banks, WalletHub, a personal finance website, found.