5 Hidden Fees Your Bank May Be Charging You
A recent study by Mintel Comperemedia, a mouthful of a marketing research firm, found that only one in five Americans would be willing to pay a $2 monthly debit card fee. A full 56% said they would use a different payment method, were they confronted with the fee. $2 is not that much! But consumers won the battle over debit card fees, so the point is moot, right?
Sort of. With customers and regulators patting themselves on the back in post-victorious fashion, some have failed to notice that banks are charging all sorts of innovative, strange fees.
Regardless of whether we think about banking fees in the right way, banks know that they have to tiptoe around the issue. Over the course of the year, hidden bank fees have been created for all sorts of services, some of which don't really make sense — but they won't get you upset because they aren't for your debit card. Let's take a look:
1. Online Bill Pay Fee
Banks love it when you do your banking online, right? Go to your local bank branch for proof positive of this; assuming it's an older building you should see one actual teller for every six teller windows. We can do so much banking with cards and computers nowadays, banks hardly need to staff tellers like they used to.
Although you'll find that most banks do not charge a fee for using their online bill pay portal, you will find that they charge quite a hefty fee for same-day or overnight delivery. Suntrust Bank charges people $4.95 for same-day delivery and $14.95 for expedited overnight delivery. Similarly, Ally Bank charges $9.95 for same-day delivery and $14.95 for expedited overnight delivery.
Because of the labor costs associated with branch banking, they often encourage people to do as much banking online as possible. But some banks have started charging fees for online banking services, even if it is technically a money saver for them.
2. Mobile Deposit Fee
Remember how checking accounts cost a lot for banks to maintain because of all the time it takes banks to process paper checks? Mobile deposit — that is, depositing checks virtually with smartphone cameras — seems to circumvent this labor-intensive process. But despite that, some banks will still charge you a fee for the service; U.S Bank has started to charge $0.50 per check (after the first 20 checks deposited per statement cycle). And given the rapid growth of the market for the service, you shouldn't be surprised if more banks start charging you for the convenience.
3. External Bank Transfer Fee
Many banks have started to charge a processing fee to transfer your money from one account at one financial institution to another account at a different financial institution. Often times (as with many other fees) banks do not disclose this transfer fee upfront when you initiate a transfer and you are left to find out you've been charged once the transfer is done. These transfer fees vary based on the bank depending on how much money you have in your account, how you initiate the transfer (i.e. online, in-person, on the phone), or the delivery timeframe.
PNC started charging $3 for making teller-assisted transfers over the phone or in person. TD Bank charges $3 for this service as well for standard time delivery, and $7 for next-business day delivery. The reason this seems a bit sneaky is because these services are free online and in-person at the branch, which runs somewhat counter to logic — aren't banks trying to keep us out of branches?
ACH Transfer Limits at Top U.S. Banks
|Bank||ACH Transfer Amount Limits||Transfer Fee|
|Bank of America||$1,000 per transaction||$3 for standard time delivery and $10 for next-business day delivery|
|Chase||$10,000 per transaction or $25,000 per day||$0|
|Wells Fargo||Varies depending on your account history but typically $5,000 per day||$0|
|Citibank||$2,000 per day or $10,000 per month||$0|
|U.S. Bank||Varies depending on your account history but typically $2,500 per day||$0 for standard time delivery from other institutions, $3 for standard time delivery to other institutions|
|Capital One||$10,000 per day or $25,000 per month||$0|
|PNC Bank||$2,000 per day or $5,000 per month (transfer limits may be reviewed and raised if you have positive account history)||$0 if done online and $3 if assisted in branch|
|Truist||Varies depending on your account history||$3 for standard time delivery and $6 for next-business day delivery|
|Santander Bank||$5,000 per day with one-time passcode ($500 without one-time passcode) or $20,000 per month||$0|
|Fifth Third Bank||$2,000 per day or $5,000 per month||$3|
|Citizens Bank||$10,000 per day or $15,000 per month For next day transfers: $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month||$3 for standard time delivery and $10 for next-business day delivery|
|M&T Bank||$10,000 per day (inbound) or $20,000 per day (outbound)||$3|
|Ally Bank||Varies depending on your account history||$0|
4. Savings Withdrawal Fee
Banks are allowed to limit you to six withdrawal and/or transfers from your savings or money market accounts per month — that's a federal regulation. But the government never said these withdrawals are necessarily free, and whether or not they are free often depends on how much money you have in the bank and which bank you hold your finances with.
Bank of America charges $10 for every savings withdrawal over 6 in a month, unless you keep $20,000 with them in savings, in which case the fee is waived and all six are free. For PNC Bank, they charge a whopping $15 for every withdrawal you make, starting at the very first one. However, certain banks don't charge a fee at all, like Synchrony and Capital One, which can be beneficial if you find yourself needing to take out money from your savings on a more than occasional basis.
The less money you have in savings, the more likely you are to be withdrawing regularly, and the more likely it is that you'll be dinged for some cash every time you take your cash out of your account.
Savings Withdrawal Fees at Top U.S. Banks
|Bank||Savings Withdrawal Fee||Maximum # Of Fees Charged Monthly|
|Bank of America||$10 after the first 6 withdrawals (fee waived if you maintain $20,000 in account)||6|
|Chase||$5 after the first 6 withdrawals (fee waived for Chase Premier Savings accounts with a balance of $15,000 or greater, or $25,000 or greater in Chase Business Premier Savings accounts)||6|
|Citibank||Does not charge||No maximum|
|U.S. Bank||$15 after the first 6 withdrawals||6|
|PNC Bank||$15 after the first withdrawal||No maximum|
|Capital One||$10 after the 6 allowed||No maximum|
|TD Bank||$9 after the first 6 withdrawals for Money Market/Savings accounts (fee waived for Savings Overdraft Protection transfers)
$3 after the first 3 withdrawals for Club Accounts
|Ally Bank||$10 after the first 6 withdrawals||No maximum|
|Union Bank||$15 after the first 6 withdrawals||No maximum|
|Wells Fargo||$15 after the first 6 withdrawals||3|
|Regions Bank||$3 after the first 3 withdrawals||No maximum|
|Synchrony Bank||No excess withdrawal fee||No charge, but if this happens on more than occasional basis, the bank reserves the right to close the account for misuse|
|Santander Bank||$5 after the first 6 withdrawals||No maximum, plus if you repeatedly exceed these limits, Santander will convert your account to a non-interest bearing checking account|
|Discover Bank||No excess withdrawal fee||No charge, but if this happens on more than occasional basis, the bank reserves the right to close the account|
5. Card Replacement Fee
In the good old days, a lost debit card might have meant a panicked call to customer service to cancel your card (maybe you left it at a bar?), but at least your bank would send you a new card, no strings attached, right? Not anymore if you bank with Bank of America; you'll be paying $5 for a new card. Remember to close out your tabs, guys. Your bartender hates you.
Lost Debit Card Replacement Fee at the Top Banks
|Bank||Debit Card Replacement Fee||Delivery Time||Rush Replacement Fee||Expedited Delivery Time|
|Bank of America||$5||5-7 business days||$15 (fee waived for Preferred Rewards accounts)||1 business day if request is received prior to cut-off time 12 pm ET|
|Wells Fargo||Free||5-7 calendar days||$16||Up to 3 business days|
|Chase||Free||5-7 business days||$5||Up to 2 business days|
|Citibank||Free||3 business days plus US mail time||$6||1-2 business days|
|U.S. Bank||Free||5-7 business days||$25||2-3 business days|
|PNC Bank||$7.50||3-5 business days||$25||Up to 3 business days|
|Capital One||Free||Up to 3 business days||N/A||N/A|
|TD Bank||Free||7-10 business days||N/A||N/A|
|BB&T||Free once every 4-year cycle (otherwise, $5)||7-10 business days||$30 (fee waived for BB&T Wealth Vantage, BB&T Private Vantage, BB&T Asset Management Account, Elite Gold, and BB&T Elite@Work Checking accounts)||Overnight|
|SunTrust||Free||3-5 business days||$25||Up to 2 days|
Read your fee disclosure forms carefully, kids. You never know what you're gonna get charged for.