By  Tue Nov 19, 2013

Premium Checking Accounts Compared at Top 10 Banks

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Do you have a standard checking account and feel it is time to take it up a notch? Banks offer more than just average checking accounts.  These accounts are typically known as premium checking accounts and offer a variety of features and perks.  Anyone looking to capitalize on a premium checking account should do a little research first.

Think of a premium checking account as you would a rewards credit card. These accounts are reserved for people that understand how to truly manage their finances and that want to be rewarded for their hard work and dedication. Most of these checking accounts collect interest at a rate anywhere between 0.01% to 0.05%. They also provide incentives like free cashier’s checks, money orders, or out-of-network ATM use.

MyBankTracker compared premium checking accounts from the top 10 banks in the U.S. This data was compiled to give you a clear overview of each account. (You will notice that Chase and PNC both have two premium checking account options; so there are a total of 12 accounts listed to help you make an informed decision.)

Top 10 Banks Premium Checking Accounts

Bank Opening Requirement Monthly Fee Interest Rates Additional Perks
Wells Fargo PMA Premier Checking $50 $30 (waived if account possesses $50,000 or more...) $0-$4,999,99 - 0.01%, $5,000 - $99,999.99-0.05%, $100,000 or more - 0.10% (APY) Money orders, Cashier's checks, and check printing free
Chase Premier Plus Checking $25 $25 (waived if daily balance is an average of $15,000 or more...) 0.01% (APY) No fee for small safe deposit box. $0 card replacement, $5 if rush request.
Chase Premier Platinum Checking $25 $25 or $35 in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York (waived if average daily balance is $75,000 or more...) 0.01% (APY) No fees for money orders, cashier's checks, or traveler's checks. Free small safe deposit box. $0 card replacement even if rushed request
U.S. Bank Platinum Checking $25 $17.95 for online statements and $19.95 for paper statements (waived if you maintain $25,000 or more...) Under $2,500 - 0.01%, $2,500-$9,999 - 0.05%, and 10,000 and up - 0.05% (APY) 50% off safe deposit box annual rental fee
Bank of America Premium Solution $100 $25 (waived if combined balance of $20,000 or more...) Less than $10,000 - 0.01%, or $10,000-$99,999 - 0.02%, or $100,00 and up - 0.03% (APY) Higher rates on platinum money market savings accounts, select CDs, and IRAs. Also, special relationship benefits on home loans.
Capital One Bank Premier Rewards Checking $50 $14.95 (waived if monthly average is $1,500 or more...) No interest earned Earn double rewards miles automatically when you sign, swipe, or click
Citigold Interest Checking $0 $30 (waived if $50,000 combined average balanced is maintained in deposit and retirement accounts or more...) Below $25,000 - 0.05%, $25,000-$49,999.999 - 0.05% $50,000 and up - 0.05% (APY) Safety deposit box fee waived if valued at $125 or less, 50% discount on boxes greater than $125. Quicken software for $9.95 a month or waived if monthly balance requirements are met.
PNC Performance Select Checking $0 $25 (waived monthly service charge if $5,000 of combined direct deposits is made per month or more...) Accounts with $2,000 or more earn 0.01% interest (APY) Get up to 8 free checking, savings or money market accounts. Free global ATM usage, free checks, domestic wire transfers and free identity-theft reimbursement insurance up to $10,000. Earn cash back with PNC purchase payback.
PNC Performance Checking $0 $10 (waived if total direct deposits equals $2,000 or more...) Accounts with $2,000 or more earn 0.01% interest. (APY) Bonus rates on select CDs, one free savings or premium money market account and free identity-theft reimbursement insurance up to $5,000. Earn cashback with PNC purchase payback.
TD Premier Checking $0 $25 (waived if daily balance is at least $2,500) 0.05% on balances over $2,500 (APY) Free cashier's checks, money orders, and stop payments with no fee.
SunTrust Signature Advantage Banking $100 $25 (waived if $25,000 daily balance in checking or more...) 0.01% (APY) $45 discount on safe deposit boxes
BB&T Bank Elite Gold Checking Account $100 (may vary by state) $30 (waived if at least $25,000 in combined deposit balances in accounts held) 0.01% interest build on all accounts (APY) Two overdraft protection fees waived per month. $40 annual safe deposit box discount.

ATM Fees

Another major factor to take into consideration are ATM fees. The account you open will determine the type of fees that you will need to pay if you decide to withdraw money, inquire about account balances, or make a transfer on an ATM that is not from your bank. Check out the list of fees from each bank.

  • Wells Fargo PMA Premier Checking: free at Wells Fargo ATM and for two non-Wells Fargo ATM cash withdrawals per statement cycle from your personal PMA Premier Checking account. $2.50 for additional non-Wells Fargo ATM cash withdrawals outside the U.S. and $5 for additional withdrawals from non-Wells Fargo ATM outside U.S. (additional fees are subject to apply from ATM owner).
  • Chase Premier Plus Checking: free at any Chase ATM. Free for first 4 withdrawals, transfers or inquiries at non-Chase ATMs. $2 per additional use. $5 for foreign transactions outside the U.S.
  • Chase Premier Platinum Checking: free at any Chase ATM and for Chase and non-Chase ATM withdrawals, inquiries, and/or transfers (other charges made from ATM still apply). $5 for ATMs outside of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
  • U.S. Bank Platinum Checking: no fee at any U.S. Bank ATM as well as unlimited free transactions at non-U.S. Bank ATMs.
  • Bank of America Premium Solution: no fee for BofA ATM usage. $2 for non-BofA domestic ATM withdrawals and $5 for non-BofA international ATM withdrawals, plus any additional ATM fees.
  • Capital One Premier Rewards Checking: free at any Capital One ATM. Domestic ATM charges at non-capital one banks are $2 (plus any ATM owner charges) International withdrawals cost $2 per transaction, plus 3% of total transaction amount (for transactions made at ATMs outside the U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S., Virgin Islands. Additional ATM fees may apply.)
  • Citibank Citigold Interest Checking: free at Citibank ATM and non-Citibank ATM fee (third party ATM withdrawals still apply).
  • PNC Performance Select Checking: free PNC and non-PNC ATM transactions, plus unlimited reimbursement of non-PNC ATM surcharge fees.
  • PNC Performance Checking: free PNC ATM use and reimbursement of non-PNC ATM fees and other banks’ surcharge fees.
  • TD Premier Checking: free at TD ATMs and on non-TD bank withdrawals (must pay surcharge from out-of-network ATMs). Reimbursed for surcharge if balance is $2,500 or more
  • SunTrust Signature Advantage Checking: never pay any fees for ATMs. No domestic or international ATM withdrawal fee and reimbursed fees acquired from third parties.
  • BB&T Elite Gold Checking: free at BB&T ATMs. $2.50 for any non-BB&T machine. There is a 3% plus $5 transaction fee for ATM use outside of the U.S. The transaction fee for debit card purchases is also 3%. You can also convert currency or purchase at BB&T branches.

This is a good breakdown to get you started on the differences between premium checking accounts. Minimum requirements to open an account, interest rates available, and the other information gathered can help guide you towards opening the right account.

Narrow down your choices to the top 2 or 3 banks that look appealing and then make a pros and cons list. Figure out which premium account can benefit you the most.

 

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