What Are Monthly Maintenance Fees?

Updated on March 5, 2024

Banks operate for a profit, and they make this profit in various ways, monthly maintenance fees being one of them. Banks charge maintenance fees for providing services to their customers. But are they too high? Can they be avoided? This article will answer some of these questions about the monthly maintenance fees charged by banks.

What Are Monthly Maintenance Fees?

Let’s start by explaining what a monthly maintenance fee is and isn’t.

A monthly maintenance fee charged by a bank or a financial institution is a type of fee charged to customers if certain requirements are not fulfilled from your end. For example, you’ve withdrawn an amount that exceeds your limit. Or your balance is lower than the required threshold. In such cases, the bank will charge you a maintenance fee to make up for losses on its end. Other reasons are to keep your account functioning normally.

So, a monthly maintenance fee is not something that is charged irrespective of your banking activities. Banks only charge maintenance fees when you violate their terms.

The fees vary depending on the violation. If it’s a serious one, you’re likely to be charged more. If it’s a trivial one, the fees will be lower, but definitely not nonexistent. You can find out the rates by contacting your bank’s customer service department or online.

How to Avoid Monthly Maintenance Fees

However small the fee might be, paying monthly fees is frustrating nevertheless. And the worst part about them is you don’t even know you’re being charged. Banks do little to inform you about these. You need to check your account statement regularly to see these types of maintenance charges.

You might be wondering if you can get rid of them once and for all. And the answer to this is — it depends. It depends on which type of account you hold, at which bank, and your financial health. If you’ve opened an account with a big bank that provides many services, then it’s likely you’re going to be charged a maintenance fee for violations. People with irregular payments often have to face these types of charges since they cannot guarantee they’ll meet the obligations every month. 

Maintenance Fees Charged by Big Banks

In the previous section, we said big banks tend to charge maintenance fees more often than relatively small banks. Here’s a look at what the top banks in America charge as maintenance fees:

Bank of America

Bank of America is well-known not only in the U.S. but also abroad. It charges a monthly maintenance fee of $12 on all types of accounts if the balance drops below $1,500. There are other conditions, too, like making a direct deposit of more than $250 in a month.

Chase

Chase is another popular financial institution in the United States. Like Bank of America, Chase charges a maintenance fee of $12 if your account balance goes below $1,500 for a day. Also, you must have at least $500 in your account funded through direct deposit every month. If you have multiple qualified accounts, then the total should be $5,000 or more.

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank has a monthly maintenance fee of $6.95 if you’re subscribed to electronic statements. If you’ve opted for paper statements, the fee is $8.95 per month.

The fee is charged every time your account balance drops below $1,500, or you do not make $1,000 worth of direct deposits.

Citi Bank

Citi Bank has a maintenance fee of $12 per month if you maintain less than $1,500 in all qualified accounts for a day, or do not make one eligible direct deposit every month.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo charges $10 to its customers as a monthly maintenance fee if you transact less than 10 times through your qualified debit card. If you fail to make a direct deposit of $500 or fail to maintain a balance of $1,500, expect $10 to be charged to your account.

PNC

PNC has a $7 monthly maintenance fee in place if you do not make a direct deposit of at least $500 each month or have less than $500 in your account balance.

How Can I Reduce My Monthly Bank Fees?

Every bank has its own monthly maintenance fees and requirements. As evident from the above section, you must comply with those requirements to avoid paying monthly fees.

The first thing you need to do is maintain the minimum account balance as specified by the bank. If it is $1,500, then try every possible way to maintain that amount every single day. Plan your expenses keeping in mind the minimum balance you need to maintain.

The second thing is to make transactions however many times the bank requires you to. If it is 10 times for your debit card, you must use your debit card 10 times.

The final thing you can do to reduce your monthly fees is to open a free checking account with a smaller bank. These accounts do not have the obligations that the above banks impose. So, you’re free to go below a certain amount. These accounts will never charge a monthly fee unless you carry a balance or violate strict terms.

Conclusion

Saving every penny is important when planning your personal finance. And getting rid of monthly maintenance fees is a great way to save money every month. So if you haven’t already, you should look at your bank statement to see if there’s an unexpected charge. If there is a maintenance fee, talk to your bank representative about how you can eliminate it.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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