With average checking account costs ranging from $0 to over $700 depending on one’s usage patterns — and varying by as much as 25X across banks — WalletHub today released its 2014 Checking Account Cost Comparison Report to help consumers effectively compare checking accounts and thereby save money while meeting their everyday banking needs.
In conducting this report, WalletHub compared popular checking account costs when used by five distinct types of consumers, ranging from traditional users who are looking for a simple means of everyday cash management to high-tech mobile bankers.
You can find an overview of other key findings below. Also, make sure to check out our 5 Tips for Choosing a Checking Account.
Most Affordable Banks:
2. Capital One
3. Union Bank
Least Affordable Banks:
21. RBS Citizens
24. Fifth Third
25. M&T Bank
The less money you have, the more a checking account costs – the average cost for the “Cash Strapped” segment is close to $500.
Prepaid cards may be cheaper than traditional checking accounts for certain consumer segments – For cash-strapped consumers in particular, the discipline that prepaid cards provide in terms of preventing account overdrafts can lead to significant cost reductions relative to traditional checking accounts, according to data from CardHub’s 2014 Prepaid Cards Report.
Overdraft fees complicate product comparison efforts – Not only do banks charge a number of different overdraft-related fees – including standard overdraft fees, extended overdraft fees, overdraft protection lines of credit, and fees for having insufficient funds – but they also apply these charges differently, depending on the type of transaction that triggers the fee, the value of this transaction, and how long the account balance remains below $0.