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KeyBank Checking Account Review

(2 out of 5) MyBankTracker Editor's Rating

KeyBank

KeyBank is likely to be a big bank in your area if you're in the Northeast or Midwest (1,197 branches and 1,572 ATMs across 15 states)

And, since you're looking for a new checking account, the bank is an option that might consider.

One of the bank’s most popular accounts is the Key Express Checking Account as it is the basic checking option for everyday consumers.

It does offer some features that you might want in your checking account.

In this review, find out what they are, in addition to the general account fees, before you decide to open this account.

Free Access to HelloWallet, a Financial Wellness Tool

Key Express Checking Account Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Helpful money management tool
  • Mobile banking apps available
  • Monthly fee (can be waived)
  • Service fees on the higher end
  • Doesn't earn interest

A nifty feature of this account is HelloWallet, a free financial wellness program that all KeyBank customers have access to.

The program’s goal is to give KeyBank customers a way to see a more complete picture of the financial situation.

Connect to other financial accounts

HelloWallet can help you track where you’ve been and see where you’re going.

It’s also a great tool for creating plans and strategies to reach your financial goals.

When you open HelloWallet, you’ll see a dashboard where you can view all of your financial accounts.

You can add accounts at other institutions, including other banks and brokerage accounts.

That makes it easy to get the full details of your financial situation at a glance.

Your financial wellness

Even better, HelloWallet will also automatically generate a financial wellness score for you.

Your financial wellness score is an indicator of how healthy your finances it.

Your score is calculated from your current account balances, income, and spending history, and any other information HelloWallet is able to gather about your financial activities.

Your financial wellness score is updated automatically every time you log in to your account. You can track your score’s history so you can see what makes it rise and fall.

HelloWallet also offers a peer score, which compares your financial wellness score to other people in similar situations.

You’ll be compared to people of similar age, marital status, location, and so on. This can give you an idea of whether you’re on track compared to your peers and give you a bit more incentive as you try to one-up your peers.

If you also have a KeyBank savings account, HelloWallet can help you earn more interest.

Enrolling in the program will give your savings account an automatic rate boost on balances up to $25,000.

Send Money to Your Friends Using Zelle

People’s lives have grown more digital in recent years, but cash has remained king for many financial transactions.

People still use cash to pay their friends and colleagues back for restaurant tabs or when splitting utility bills.

Despite its popularity, cash can be inconvenient. Nobody likes carrying around coins and making change.

So, to make paying your friends easier, KeyBank offers a service called Zelle, which lets you send money directly from your bank account.

You won’t need to use cash to pay your friends if you have Zelle. You can even use Zelle to send money to people who haven’t set up Zelle yet.

The service is used by many other banks so it is a trusted payment method.

How it works

When you open Zelle, all you have to do to get started is enter the recipient’s phone number or e-mail.

That's it.

You don’t need to know anything about where they bank or what kind of bank accounts they have. All you need is a way to contact them.

You’ll then be prompted to enter the amount you’d like to send.

Sending and receiving limits can vary from bank to bank.

Usually, you’ll be able to send enough to cover all but the largest payments.

The recipient will be instantly notified that they have a transfer pending. If the recipient has already set up Zelle, the money will be removed from your account and arrive in their bank account within three business days.

If the recipient hasn’t yet set up Zelle, they’ll be prompted to set up their profile. As soon as they do, the payment will be released and the transfer will complete within a few days.

Get Rewarded with KeyBank Relationship Rewards

When you open your Key Express Checking Account you’ll have the option to enroll in Relationship Rewards.

You should consider enrolling if you think you’ll earn a good amount of rewards.

You’ll earn rewards for a variety of different transactions, including:

  • Debit card purchases
  • Online bill payments
  • ATM and mobile check deposits
  • Automatic debits and credit

You can also get bonus points on your birthday and for signing up for electronic statements.

You can trade in the points that you earn for a variety of rewards. You can get gift cards, travel rebates, electronics, merchandise, and charitable donations.

You can also deposit the rewards points to your account as cash.

However, one thing to note, is that there is a $40 annual fee to sign up for Relationship Rewards if you have the Key Express Checking account. You should only sign up if you can earn at least $40 in rewards.

ATM Access

Key Bank has ATMs spread across 15 states, but its network consists of only 1,572 ATMs.

You might have some trouble finding a KeyBank ATM that will let you make free withdrawals.

You’ll have to search the areas you frequent to find the closest ATM you can use.

If you ever wind up in an unfamiliar area and cannot use a KeyBank ATM, you’ll have to use an ATM that is owned by another bank.

If you do, KeyBank will charge you $2.50. If you’re outside the US, the charge will be $5 instead.

Note: This charge is in addition to any fees charged by the ATM’s owner.

Given the relatively sparse ATM network, you shouldn’t rely on being able to withdraw cash at ATMs on a regular basis.

Two Ways to Waive the Monthly Fee

The Key Express Checking Account charges a monthly maintenance fee and a paper statement fee.

The paper statement fee is $3 per statement. It’s easy to avoid the fee by signing up for electronic statements.

The monthly maintenance fee is $7. It's lower compared to checking accounts from other big banks.

KeyBank offers two ways to avoid this fee:

  1. Use your account eight (8) times, or
  2. Receive at least $500 in deposits in a statement

So long as you’re receiving direct deposits or regularly using your debit card, it shouldn’t be hard to meet either or both of the requirements.

Other Fees

Monthly maintenance fees are the most common type of fee you’ll have to pay on a checking account.

However, there are other fees that the bank might charge.

Some of the fees that may apply to the Key Express Checking Account are listed below.

Key Express Checking Account Fees

Type Fee
Monthly Maintenance Fee $7
Non-KeyBank ATM $2.50
Overdraft Fee $34
Overdraft Protection Transfer Fee $10
Returned Item $34
Stop Payment $34
Deposited Item Returned $15
Domestic Wire Transfer (incoming) $20
International Wire Transfer (incoming) $20
Cashiers Check $8

Convenience

The Key Express Checking Account offers a variety of valuable convenience features.

One of the most important aspects of a checking account is how easy it is to you. Your checking account will play a central role in your financial life, so you need to make sure that it isn’t a headache to use.

Being able to access your account easily will go a long way towards making it easy to use.

To that end, KeyBank offers access to your account through both its website and smartphone app. You can log in to your account using any internet-connected device.

When you do, you’ll be able to see your account balance, transaction history, and future scheduled transactions. You can also schedule new transactions if you’d like.

Another powerful account feature is its bill pay service.

Rather than writing and mailing checks each month, KeyBank can handle that for you. Just enter the company you need to pay and the amount you need to send. KeyBank will handle the rest.

Other KeyBank Checking Options

If you're interested in becoming a KeyBank consumer, but aren't sold on this checking account, check out some additional checking account options also offered by this bank:

KeyBank Hassle-Free Account

KeyBank's Hassle-Free Account is a checkless, non-interest bearing, $0 monthly fee checking account, that features easy online banking and no minimum balance fee. If you're looking for a step-up from a basic checking account that includes friendly digital perks and minimal-fee banking, then this account is for you. One important fee to note from this account: if you close your account within 180 days of account opening, you will be charged a $25.00 early account closure fee

Here's some of the main fees and highlights from the bank account:

KeyBank Hassle-Free Account Fees

Type Fee
Monthly Maintenance Fee $0
Minimum Opening Deposit $10
Minimum Balance Requirement None
Overdraft Fee $0
Non-Sufficient Funds Fee $0
Stop Payment Fee $34
Non-KeyBank ATM $2.50
Non-KeyBank ATM Outside the U.S. $5
Paper Statement Fee $0
Overdraft Protection Plans $10


KeyBank Key Advantage Checking Account

The Key Advantage Checking Account at KeyBank is an interest-bearing checking account that offers money-saving options and the convenience of traditional checking accounts. Although this account charges an $18 monthly maintenance fee, KeyBank offers up to a $6 per month reimbursement in non-Key ATM surcharges, and 50% off every time you order checks.

There are three (3) ways to get this $18 fee waived (you must only meet one to waive the fee):

  1. Maintain a combined balance of $10,000.00 or more in KeyBank accounts (accounts include checking and savings deposit accounts, certificates of deposit, retirement deposits, and investment accounts)
  2. Have a mortgage originated through KeyBank and have an automatic payment of $500 or more from your Key Advantage Money Market Checking Account during a statement cycle, or
  3. Be a Key@Work program member and have direct deposits totaling $1000 or more credited to your Key Advantage Money Market Checking Account during a statement cycle

We've researched out some of the main fees and highlights from the bank account:

KeyBank Key Advantage Checking Fees

Type Fee
Monthly Maintenance Fee $18 (waived for the first 3 months)
Minimum Opening Deposit $50
Stop Payment Fee $34
Overdraft Fee and Non-Sufficient Funds Fee $34 for first 2 items, $38.50 for 3 and above
Non-KeyBank ATM $0 plus reimbursement of up to $6 per month of non-Key ATMs
Paper Statement Fee $0
KeyBank Relationship Rewards Annual Fee $30


KeyBank Key Privilege Checking Account

KeyBank's Key Privilege Checking Account is one of KeyBank's more premier checking accounts, that offers optimum saving features, like preferred pricing and automatic daily sweeps. This account offers exclusive insights into your accounts and investments, to ensure your money is always earning premium interest. 

Even though this account has a whopping $25 monthly maintenance fee, the unlimited check writing, no cost standard checks, and preferred CD rates and discounts that it comes with, may make that fee worth it.

To avoid the $25 monthly fee, you must meet one of these requirements:

  1. Maintain a combined balance of $25,000 or more in any combination of deposit, investment, and credit accounts
  2. Have a mortgage originated through KeyBank and have an automatic payment of $500 or more from your Key Privilege Checking Account during a statement cycle, or
  3. Be a Key@Work program member and have direct deposits totaling at least $2,500 or more credited to this account during a statement cycle

Here's some of the main points and fees from this account:

KeyBank Key Privilege Checking Fees

Type Fee
Monthly Maintenance Fee $25 (waived for the first 3 months)
Minimum Opening Deposit $50
Stop Payment Fee $34
Overdraft Fee and Non-Sufficient Funds Fee $34 for first 2 items, $38.50 for 3 and above
Non-KeyBank ATM $0 plus reimbursement of up to $6 per month of non-Key ATMs
Paper Statement Fee $0
Overdraft Protection Plans $10
KeyBank Relationship Rewards Annual Fee No charge

How it Compares Nationally

Nearly every bank in the United States offers some type of checking account.

It’s easy to understand why, everyone needs one, making the checking account the most common type of bank account in the U.S.

This means that you’ll have a huge variety of accounts to choose from. That means that you should be able to get a great deal by shopping around.

Take the time to find the right account for your needs.

Why? Choosing the wrong account can make dealing with simple financial tasks a burden.

When you’re comparing checking accounts, fees are the first thing to look at.

You want to make sure that you won’t pay any maintenance fees. If the account does charge a monthly fee, make sure that you can meet the fee-waiver requirements each month.

Other things to consider when comparing accounts are:

  • Minimum deposit requirements
  • Fee waiver requirements
  • Interest rates
  • ATM access
  • Convenience features

The Final Verdict

The KeyBank Key Express Checking Account is a solid checking account. It offers some useful features, such as HelloWallet, that could be useful for many people.

You might want to consider a free alternative, such as Intuit’s Mint, and an online checking account.

Online checking accounts are often fee-free and can pay interest.

They may also have valuable features such as ATM fee reimbursement and account monitoring.