Fees are often a necessary evil, but when it comes to banking charges, consumers are getting a bit of a break this year. That’s according to the semi-annual MoneyRates Bank Fees Survey, which found declines in the average fees for maintenance, overdraft and ATM access.
According to the survey, the average checking fees declined compared to the last survey, bucking the trend of rising bank fees that have been going on in recent years. While banks have a lot of ways to charge customers checking fees, the survey revealed that a lot of the most common fees have been lowered. The same goes for monthly maintenance fees, which MoneyRates found declined to an average of $13.25 a month. That’s $0.04 lower compared to the last survey. As for overdraft fees — something far too many banking customers are well aware of — the survey found the average cost has declined by $0.16 to an average of $32.22.
While most consumers would rejoice at paying less fees to bank, the survey did find online banking customers benefit more than their traditional banking counterparts. The report found the decline in average checking account fees was due to an increased number of banks offering the ability to bank online. That keeps the overhead costs down, and the savings can then be passed on to its customers.
“Monthly maintenance fees for online checking average $8.14, compared with $13.58 for traditional accounts. Even more significantly, 61 percent of online checking accounts charge no monthly fee at all, compared with just 25 percent of traditional accounts,” said MoneyRates in its report. “So, banking online is a big factor in determining whether or not you have to pay a monthly maintenance fee at all.”
While some consumers may balk at conducting their banking online, it’s not only saving them a little on fees if they go that route, but often, it can be void of fees completely. The report noted a growing number of online banks are providing free checking accounts, getting rid of the fee altogether.