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6 Savings Account Fees You Need to Know About

Be aware of the different types of fees that a bank could charge on a savings account. Find out why they are being charged, how much they cost, and what you can do to avoid them. Learn about online banks that are able to offer significantly higher savings rates without expensive fees.

Savings accounts are designed to help you save money and earn some interest while doing so. Ideally, you’re supposed to leave money in the account for the long term, letting your savings grow over time.

Unfortunately, many banks charge fees on their savings accounts.

These fees eat into your account balance and can even outpace the interest you earn. That means you could be losing money by keeping your money in a savings account.

This article will discuss different savings account fees you might be charged and how to avoid them.

1. Monthly Maintenance Fee

One of the most common fees that you’ll face is the monthly maintenance fee.

Banks charge this fee to make up for the cost of maintaining your account. This fee is charged every single month when your statement closes.

The size of the fee varies widely from bank to bank, and even by account type at the same bank. Many banks offer more than one savings account.

Some premium saving accounts with a lot of features will charge a hefty maintenance fee to cover the cost of the services. Banks with these premium accounts usually have low-frills accounts that charge lower fees.

Banks offer multiple ways to avoid monthly maintenance fees.

Usually, the fee waiver requirements include (not necessarily each and every one of the following):

  • Maintain a minimum balance of a certain amount
  • Post an incoming transfer of a certain amount
  • Link to a checking account from the same bank

Ideally, you should avoid opening a savings account until you can meet the requirements to waive maintenance fees.

Monthly Maintenance Fees for Savings Accounts at Top U.S. Banks

Bank Monthly Maintenance Fee Minimum Balance To Waive Fee
Bank of America
Custodial Savings Account
$5 $300 minimum daily balance (or you can pay $5 every month)
Chase
Regular Savings Account
$5 $300 minimum daily balance
Santander Bank
Regular Savings Account
$1 $100 minimum daily balance (or you can waive the fee if you also hold any Santander checking account)
U.S. Bank
Standard Savings Account
$4 $300 minimum daily balance, or $1,000 average monthly collected balance
PNC Bank
Standard Savings Account
$5 $300 minimum monthly balance (or set up an auto-transfer of $25 or more each month from your PNC checking account to your savings account)
TD Bank
TD Simple Savings Account
$5 (or $4 if you choose online statements only) $300 minimum daily balance
Ally Bank
Online Savings Account
$0 for all savings accounts N/A
Union Bank
Regular Savings Account
$4 $300 minimum daily balance (or deposit $25 or more monthly into your savings account)
Wells Fargo
Way2Save Account
$5 $300 minimum daily balance (or maintain one auto-transfer from your Wells Fargo checking account to your savings account)
Regions Bank
LifeGreen Savings Account
$0 N/A
Citizen's Bank
Green Savings Account
$4.99 $200 minimum daily balance
BB&T
Regular Savings Account
$5 $300 minimum daily balance (or maintain one auto-transfer of $25 or more per month)
Fifth Third Bank
Relationship Savings Account
Goal Setter Savings Account
$5 $500 minimum monthly balance (or you can waive the fee if you have a Fifth Third Checking Account or are enrolled in Fifth Third Military Banking)
Suntrust Bank
Essential Savings Account
$0 N/A
KeyBank
Key Active Saver Account
$4 $300 minimum daily balance (or maintain one auto-transfer of $5 or more per month from your KeyBank checking account to your savings account)
M&T Bank
Relationship Savings Account
$7.50 $500 minimum daily balance (or you can have this fee waived if you have a Plus or Premium Checking Account)

2. Excess Withdrawal Fee

Savings accounts are intended to serve as long-term storage for your extra cash.

This is the opposite of a checking account, which is designed to have money moving in and out of the account regularly.

Federal law helps enforce this by limiting the number of withdrawals you can make from a savings account.

You can make up to six withdrawals from a savings account in a single statement period without paying a fee.

For every transaction after the sixth, you’ll have to pay an excess withdrawal fee. These fees can be steep, typically around $15, so you want to do your best to avoid them.

The only way to dodge this fee is to limit the number of withdrawals you make each month.

Also, remember that in-person to ATM-based transactions do not count towards this limit. If you do all your banking in-person, you’ll never run into this fee.

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
6
BB&T $3 after the first 3 withdrawals for Regular Savings accounts

$15 after the first 6 withdrawals for MoneyRate Savings accounts
No maximum
SunTrust $6 after the first 6 withdrawals for Select Savings, Personal Savings, and Essential Savings accounts

$15 after the first 6 withdrawals for Signature Money Market Savings accounts
6
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

3. Inactivity Fee

Even though savings accounts are supposed to be used for long-term savings, some banks charge inactivity fees (or dormant account fees).

This fee kicks in after a specific amount of time - usually 12 months - with no transactions occurring in the account.

Once the inactivity fee kicks in, it will be charged each month until the account’s balance hits $0, or a transaction is made.

Banks, like Santander, charge a $16 dormant account fee for their money market savings account that have been inactive for 1 year and have a balance below $250. Other banks like, TD Bank and Ally, do not charge any fees if your account is inactive. 

Avoiding this fee is relatively easy, however.

You can set up an automatic deposit to your savings account from your checking account. Even if you only set it to deposit $1 each month, that will keep the account active and let you avoid the inactivity fee.

4. Deposited Item Returned Fee

When you deposit a check, your bank will verify the authenticity of the check and credit your account for the amount of the check.

Usually, this process only takes a day or two before the money is available to withdraw.

In reality, the bank’s process for accepting a check deposit is much more complicated.

Example: You have an account at bank A. Your friend has an account at bank B. He writes you a check for $500. You deposit the check at bank A. Bank A will place that check into a pile of checks that is has received from people with accounts at bank B.

Later, bank A will send those checks to bank B, asking bank B to send the money required to cover all the transactions.

Bank B looks at all of the checks and finds that your friend does not have $500 in his account. In fact, your friend only has $300 in his account. Because your friend doesn’t have enough money to cover the transaction, bank B won’t send the money to bank A.

This process can take a few days, and bank A has probably already credited your account for the $500. When your bank hears that your friend’s account doesn’t have the funds to cover the check, it has to remove $500 from your account. Additionally, you’ll be charged a returned item fee for the bank’s trouble.

To avoid these fees, only deposit checks from trustworthy sources.

If you fear a check you have might bounce, let the bank know when depositing it so the bank can take steps to verify the check before crediting your account.

Deposited Item Returned Fee at Top U.S. Banks

Bank Deposited Item Returned Fee
Bank of America $12
Chase $12
Citibank $12
U.S. Bank $19
PNC Bank $12
Capital One $12
TD Bank $15
BB&T $12
SunTrust $12.50
Ally Bank $7.50
Wells Fargo $12
Discover Bank $0
Regions Bank $15
Santander Bank $15

5. Paper Statement Fee

As more of our lives move online, banks have sought to phase out paper forms and statements as a cost-saving and convenience measure.

To encourage customers to enroll in online banking, many banks now charge a fee to mail a paper statement your house each month.

To avoid this fee, sign up for online statements.

If you really want a paper copy, you can print the statement once you receive it.

Paper Statement Fees at Top U.S. Banks

Bank Paper Statement Fee
Chase $6
Citibank $5
U.S. Bank $2
Capital One $5
TD Bank $1
SunTrust $3
Ally Bank $0
Union Bank $2
Wells Fargo $5
Regions Bank $2
Synchrony Bank $0
Santander Bank $3
PNC Bank $2

6. Wire Transfer Fee

While these fees are not common, almost every bank will charge a wire transfer fee if you need to make a wire transfer.

A wire transfer is a method of sending funds to another person or account electronically. They’re often used to transfer money to different financial institutions or internationally.

The benefit of wire transfers is that they are relatively quick. Usually, the money arrives in just a day or two, depending on when you submit your request.

To avoid these fees, try an alternative method of transferring money.

You can use an electronic transfer or write a check to avoid these fees, though those methods might take a bit longer. Don't forget that your bank may also provide personal payments features for easy money transfers.

Wire Transfer Fees at Top Banks

Banks Domestic Incoming Domestic Outgoing Foreign Incoming Foreign Outgoing*
Bank of America $15 (fee waived for Interest Checking and Advantage Plus Preferred Rewards accounts) $30 $16 (fee waived for Preferred Rewards Platinum and Platinum Honor Tiers accounts) $45 for USD and $35 for foreign currency
Chase $15 $35 ($25 for wires initiated online) $15 $50 ($40 for wires initiated online)
Wells Fargo $15 (fee waived for Portfolio by Wells Fargo Plus w/ qualifying balances of $250,000 or more) $30 $16 $40
Citibank $15 (fee waived for Citigold and Citi Priority accounts) $35 ($25 for wires initiated online, $17.50 for Citigold and Citi Priority accounts) $15 (fee waived for Citigold and Citi Priority accounts) $45 ($35 for wires initiated online, $25 for Citigold and Citi Priority accounts)
U.S. Bank $20 $30 $25 $50
Capital One $15 (fee waived for 360 Checking accounts) $25 (could be up to $40 for 360 Checking accounts) $15 $50 for USD and $40 for foreign currency
PNC Bank $15 ($15 additional fee for wires initiated over the phone) $30 ($15 additional fee for wires initiated over the phone) $15 $45
TD Bank $15 $25 $15 $40
BB&T $15 (additional $3 fund transfer fee) $25 (additional $3 fund transfer fee) $18 $65
SunTrust Bank $15 $25 $30 $50
Citizens Bank $18 if initiated by mail, $28 if initiated by phone, $26 if initiated by fax, and $30 if initiated online $30 $12 for USD and $10 for foreign currency** $35 for USD and $10 for foreign currency
Fifth Third Bank $15 $30 $15 $50 for foreign currency and $85 for USD
Regions Bank $15 $25 $18 $45
M&T Bank $16 $32 $16 $75
BBVA Compass $15 $30 $15 $45
Santander $13 (fee waived for Student Value Checking accounts and Premier Plus Checking accounts) $25 $13 $40
BMO Harris Bank $0 $25 $0 $45
Discover Bank $0 $30 $0 (if received in foreign currency, an intermediary bank may charge fee of $20) $30
AVERAGE $13 $29 $16 $49
*Foreign outgoing fee is in USD, unless otherwise stated.


Why Do These Fees Matter?

Draining your savings

It’s important to keep track of these fees for the simple reason that they cost you money.

You put money in a savings account with the goal of keeping that money safe.

Can you really call your savings safe if fees can cause your balance to drop over time?

Knowing exactly how much you have to pay for different banking services will help you get the most from your account.

Banks Often Don’t Disclose Them Clearly

Another reason to keep these fees in mind is that banks often fail to clearly disclose these fees.

While most banks do a good job of telling customers about maintenance fees, information about the other fees listed in this article is often buried in the fine print of the account.

If you don’t know to go looking for information on these fees, you might never notice them.

Some Banks Don’t Charge Them or Charge Less

If you know about the different fees you might be charged, you’ll know to go looking for the details about how your bank charges the fees.

You can also compare your bank’s fee structure to the fees charged by other banks in your area.

You might find that you can open an account at another bank that charges lower fees. Some banks don’t charge some of these fees at all.

Choosing a bank that charges fewer fees can help you keep more money in your account, earning interest.


Consider an Online Bank

If you’re worried about the fees that are being charged on your savings account, we recommend looking into online banks.

Online banks don’t have physical branches that you can visit, existing purely online.

This gives them a huge advantage over other banks because they cost much less to run. The cost of renting a location, hiring staff for the bank, and paying for security adds up quickly. Online banks can centralize their operations and save a lot of money.

Most online banks pass those savings on to customers.

They tend to pay higher interest rates than physical banks do. They also charge far lower fees than physical banks. It’s easy to find an online bank with no maintenance fees and no account minimums.

Another benefit of online banks is that their banking apps and customer service tend to be among the best out there.

Because you can’t go talk to someone in person, online banks want you to be able to do anything you need online, easily.

If you do need to talk to someone, you can chat with support staff online, or call. Many online banks have 24/7 customer support available.


Conclusion

Many savings account charge hefty fees that result in your savings being less than safe.

Knowing what fees you might incur can help you avoid them and help you shop around for a better bank.

If you want a low-fee account, your best bet is to choose an online bank.

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