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Updated: Feb 23, 2024

U.S. Bank Overdraft and Checking Fee Policies

U.S. Bank is making changes to their overdraft fees and checking fee waivers. Learn about how those changes will impact you here.
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When you have a bank account with one of the biggest banks in the countries, you're likely to face the possibility of fees. Checking accounts from U.S. Bank are no different. Each of them has a monthly fee, including the dreaded overdraft fee.

For some U.S. Bank customers with checking accounts, dodging the monthly maintenance fee may be a little bit of a hassle when they cannot meet fee-waiver requirements easily. It could mean hundreds of dollars per year in bank fees. The price tag rises even more with its premium checking accounts.

Learn which major fees are associated with U.S. Bank checking accounts and how you can avoid them:

Monthly Service Fees

U.S. Bank offers two main checking accounts: Bank Smartly Checking and the Safe Debit account.

Bank Smartly Checking has a $6.95 monthly fee that can be waived when one of the following requirements are met:

  • Maintain an average account balance of $1,500 or greater
  • Have an open qualifying U.S. bank consumer credit card
  • Have combined monthly direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more

The Safe Debit account has a $4.95 monthly fee that cannot be waived.

Tip for Bank Smartly Checking customers

With direct deposits, you may be able to fulfill the fee-waiver requirements without a traditional direct deposit. Some customers have reported that incoming transfers from online banks and PayPal have triggered direct deposit alerts. This means that it counts toward the fee waiver criteria. You may consider testing this for yourself to see if you can use other bank accounts to help you avoid the monthly fee.
Note: There is no guarantee that this works (or continues to work in the future) with your specific account(s).

Overdraft Fees Are Standard

Overdrafts happen when a transaction causes your checking account balance to fall below $0 and the bank puts up the money to complete the transaction -- even when you technically don't have enough money in your account.

Legally, a bank can only overdraw your account when you provide consent. You may have signed an agreement that allows or forbids the bank to do so. This consent only applies to debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals. Checks and recurring charges may still lead to overdrafts and overdraft fees.

Overdraft fees will only be charged on items that are more than $5. Also, if you make it so that your account is not overdrawn by more than $5 by the end of the day, overdraft fees are not charged for that day. On any single day, no more than four overdraft fees may be charged to your account.

Ways to minimize chances of overdraft

Because an overdraft can be so costly, it would be wise to avoid it as much as possible. Again, opting out of overdraft coverage would be a start.

More important, you should set up account alerts so that you known when your balance falls below a certain amount. This way, you know not to spend anymore.

Consider Online Banks as Alternatives

Online banks don't have the costs of running a physical branch and ATM networks. This allows them to charge lower fees and provide higher interest rates to customers. If you're constantly paying monthly fees and expensive overdraft fees, an online checking account is worthy of your consideration: