Q2 2014 Banking Landscape Report

by Sonia Garrison

2014 Banking Landscape

It’s no secret the nature of personal finance has shifted considerably in recent years. Technology has closed the door on the era of neighborhood banking, bringing consumers simultaneously closer to and farther away from their financial institutions of choice. Widespread economic woes have unearthed a number of unsavory practices and institutional failures, while also saddling us with an uphill financial battle. Even the new regulations designed to cure the ills of years past have taken some getting used to.

The result is an environment in which long-held assumptions regarding which type of financial product to use may no longer hold true. In order to help consumers navigate this often unrecognizable, yet critically important segment of everyday life, WalletHub analyzed the fees, features, and rates associated with more than 2,000 checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, and CDs from financial institutions both big and small, both online and brick-and-mortar, and both shareholder- and member-owned.

Ultimately, the findings should serve as a roadmap of sorts for consumers seeking to make the most of their money with the aid of efficient everyday banking habits.

Q1 Main Findings

Best Account Types by Consumer Segment

  • General consumers should use online checking accounts, as they are 19% cheaper than branch accounts, have 20% more features, and provide a 122% higher average interest rate. Savings accounts actually have lower interest rates than checking accounts for this segment.
  • Business accounts are at the bottom of the totem pole, as they’re 46% more expensive, have 4% fewer features, and offer 57% lower interest rates than consumer accounts. As a result, small business owners should also gravitate to personal online checking accounts as much as possible.
  • College students should use student checking accounts for everyday access to cash and student savings accounts to set aside money for the future. Student checking accounts are 66% cheaper than the average personal account and offer 28% more features, but they also provide 86% lower interest rates. Student savings accounts offer some of the highest interest rates on the market.

Differences by Institution Types

  • Credit unions are 72% cheaper than national banks, offer 105% more features and provide 562% higher interest rates.
  • When it comes to small banks, credit unions are still 48% cheaper, offer 46% more features and provide 699% higher interest rates.

Differences by Region

  • Southwest offers the highest interest rates across checking and savings accounts, while the West offers the lowest.
  • Checking accounts in the Midwest offer the most features and charge the lowest fees, while those in the West offer the fewest features and the ones in the Southwest and Southeast charge the highest fees.

Differences Over Time

  • Relative to Q4 2013, average personal checking account fees have increased 3% and interest rates have fallen 4%.

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Q2 Main Findings

Best Account Types by Consumer Segment

  • General consumers seeking the best deal on checking accounts should opt for online accounts, which are 23% cheaper than branch accounts, have 49% more features and provide a 94% higher average interest rate.
  • Business owners continue to get the worst deal on checking accounts. Compared with personal online checking accounts, business accounts are 102% more expensive, have 43% less features and provide a 76% lower average interest rate.
  • Students should use checking accounts specifically designed for them. These accounts are 55% cheaper than the average personal online account at the expense of just 3% less features.
  • Everyone, including students, business owners and general consumers, should use personal online savings accounts as a money-saving vehicle, as they offer the highest average interest rates on the market — up to 36% higher than the interest rates offered by online checking accounts.

Differences by Institution Types

  • National banks charge the highest fees and offer the least amount of features on checking accounts, while on the opposite end credit unions continue to be 72% cheaper than national banks, offer 120% more features and provide 567% higher interest rates.
  • Credit unions offer the highest interest rates on the market for interest-bearing checking accounts, savings accounts and CDs, offering average interest rates of 0.43%, 0.21% and 0.79%, respectively.

Differences by Region

  • The Southwest continues to offer the highest interest rates for checking accounts (0.30%), while the Southeast offers the highest for savings accounts (0.18%). Oppositely, the West offers the lowest interest rates for both checking and savings accounts (0.04% and 0.07%, respectively).
  • Checking accounts in the Midwest and the Northeast offer the most features and charge the lowest fees, while those in the Southeast charge the highest. The ones in the West offer the fewest features.

Differences Over Time

  • Compared to Q1 2014, interest rates went up across the board. Checking accounts increased by 12% and savings accounts by ~11%.
  • Compared to Q1 2014, checking account fees have gone up by 1.57%, and the average minimum to open a savings account also has gone up by 21.40%.

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Checking Accounts by Account Type

Average Fees on Checking Accounts by Account Type

Wallet Hub Checking Account Fee Index by Account Type
Personal-Online Personal-Branch Business -Branch Student-Branch
Monthly Fee $3.89 $5.80 $8.73 $0.00
Monthly Fee w/ Min Requirements to Waive Met $0.66 $0.47 $1.34 $0.00
Min Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $2,536 $3,879 $5,831 N/A
Non-Bank ATM Fees $1.14 $1.73 $1.83 $1.97
Paper Statement Fee $1.82 $0.79 $0.41 $0.91
Online Bill Pay $0.12 $0.39 $1.30 $0.32
Minimum to Open $135 $129 $108 $40
Overdraft Fee $28 $32 $33 $33
Insufficient Funds Fee $29 $32 $33 $33
Wallet Hub Checking Account Fee Index $31 $40 $63 $14

 

Key Features on Checking Accounts by Account Type

Wallet Hub Checking Account Features Index by Account Type
Personal-Online Personal-Branch Business-Branch Student-Branch
% $0 Monthly Fee w/ No Min Requirements 58.00% 41.88% 37.11% 100.00%
% $0 Non-Bank ATM Fee 45.71% 8.66% 10.20% 4.35%
% Reimburse ATM Fees 38.00% 13.35% 3.52% 20.31%
% $0 Paper Statement Fee 58.33% 68.75% 82.35% 61.36%
% $0 Overdraft/ NSF Fees 6.00% 0.26% 0.50% 0.00%
% $0 Minimum to Open 8.00% 22.51% 30.15% 26.56%
% $0 Online Bill Pay 97.67% 92.11% 79.58% 94.34%
% Interest Bearing* 42.00% 20.42% 9.55% 6.25%
% Offer Rewards 10.00% 20.68% 6.03% 28.13%
Wallet Hub Checking Account Features Index 43.56% 29.20% 25.00% 42.44%

*$1,000 balance
 

Average Interest Rate for Interest Bearing Checking Accounts by Account Type

Wallet Hub Checking Account Interest Index by Account Type
Personal-Online Personal-Branch Business -Branch Student-Branch
$1,000 balance 0.51% 0.27% 0.11% 0.05%
$3,000 balance 0.45% 0.25% 0.11% 0.05%
$10,000 balance 0.47% 0.22% 0.12% 0.05%
$25,000 balance 0.36% 0.14% 0.11% 0.05%
$50,000 balance 0.39% 0.11% 0.12% 0.05%
Wallet Hub Checking Interest Index 0.46% 0.24% 0.11% 0.05%

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Checking Accounts by Institution Type

Average Fees on Checking Accounts by Institution Type

Wallet Hub Checking Account Fee Index by Institution Type
Community Small Regional National Credit Union
Monthly Fee $5.65 $7.04 $10.06 $15.28 $1.97
Monthly Fee w/ Min Requirements to Waive Met $0.35 $0.16 $0.97 $0.25 $0.20
Min Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $2,704 $3,400 $3,329 $7,425 $11,500
Non-Bank ATM Fees $1.75 $2.00 $1.86 $1.96 $1.29
Paper Statement Fee $0.99 $0.62 $1.38 $0.76 $0.22
Online Bill Pay $0.60 $0.18 $0.47 $0.14 $0.58
Minimum to Open $364 $116 $126 $55 $176
Overdraft Fee $31 $32 $33 $35 $26
Insufficient Funds Fee $31 $32 $33 $35 $27
Wallet Hub Checking Account Fee Index $40 $43 $62 $77 $21

 

Key Features on Checking Accounts by Institution Type

Wallet Hub Checking Account Features Index by Institution Type
Community Small Regional National Credit Union
% $0 Monthly Fee w/ No Min Requirements 38.30% 34.88% 18.60% 4.17% 70.00%
% $0 Non-Bank ATM Fee 0.00% 0.00% 13.95% 16.67% 6.67%
% Reimburse ATM Fees 14.89% 16.28% 18.60% 20.83% 16.67%
% $0 Paper Statement Fee 64.29% 66.67% 47.22% 61.90% 92.59%
% $0 Overdraft/ NSF Fees 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
% $0 Minimum to Open 8.51% 11.63% 6.98% 25.00% 66.67%
% $0 Online Bill Pay 21.28% 34.88% 2.33% 0.00% 10.00%
% Interest Bearing* 31.91% 27.91% 34.88% 37.50% 50.00%
% Offer Rewards 4.26% 18.60% 16.28% 29.17% 13.33%
Wallet Hub Checking Account Features Index 19.98% 21.23% 15.98% 15.45% 33.93%

*$1,000 balance
 

Average Interest Rate for Interest Bearing Checking Accounts by Institution Type

Wallet Hub Checking Account Interest Index by Institution Type
Community Small Regional National Credit Union
$1,000 balance 0.29% 0.05% 0.05% 0.06% 0.47%
$3,000 balance 0.23% 0.05% 0.04% 0.06% 0.47%
$10,000 balance 0.23% 0.07% 0.04% 0.07% 0.35%
$25,000 balance 0.13% 0.07% 0.04% 0.07% 0.17%
$50,000 balance 0.12% 0.08% 0.05% 0.07% 0.19%
Wallet Hub Checking Interest Index 0.24% 0.06% 0.04% 0.06% 0.43%

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Checking Accounts by Region

Average Fees on Checking Accounts by Region

Wallet Hub Checking Account Fee Index by Region
Midwest West Southwest Southeast Northeast
Monthly Fee $7.39 $8.78 $7.24 $7.00 $7.58
Monthly Fee w/ Min Requirements to Waive Met $0.00 $0.00 $0.50 $1.54 $0.16
Min Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $8,721 $2,688 $3,700 $5,045 $3,673
Non-Bank ATM Fees $1.86 $1.71 $1.62 $2.01 $1.71
Paper Statement Fee $0.62 $0.95 $0.98 $1.12 $0.44
Online Bill Pay $0.51 $0.14 $1.18 $0.28 $0.00
Minimum to Open $120 $264 $96 $362 $71
Overdraft Fee $33 $30 $31 $31 $34
Insufficient Funds Fee $33 $30 $31 $32 $34
Wallet Hub Checking Account Fee Index $44 $47 $49 $54 $44

 

Key Features on Checking Accounts by Region

Wallet Hub Checking Account Features Index by Region
Midwest West Southwest Southeast Northeast
% $0 Monthly Fee w/ No Min Requirements 47.37% 19.51% 22.86% 34.29% 44.74%
% $0 Non-Bank ATM Fee 7.89% 9.76% 2.86% 0.00% 10.53%
% Reimburse ATM Fees 13.16% 14.63% 20.00% 14.29% 23.68%
% $0 Paper Statement Fee 70.37% 62.16% 69.23% 51.85% 76.00%
% $0 Overdraft/ NSF Fees 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
% $0 Minimum to Open 39.47% 14.63% 14.29% 14.29% 18.42%
% $0 Online Bill Pay 15.79% 14.63% 14.29% 20.00% 13.16%
% Interest Bearing* 34.21% 29.27% 45.71% 37.14% 31.58%
% Offer Rewards 18.42% 9.76% 5.71% 22.86% 18.42%
Wallet Hub Checking Account Features Index 25.16% 16.43% 18.67% 19.88% 25.17%

*$1,000 balance
 

Average Interest Rate for Interest Bearing Checking Accounts by Region

Wallet Hub Checking Account Interest Index by Region
Midwest West Southwest Southeast Northeast
$1,000 balance 0.28% 0.04% 0.35% 0.17% 0.12%
$3,000 balance 0.23% 0.04% 0.35% 0.17% 0.11%
$10,000 balance 0.24% 0.04% 0.22% 0.18% 0.11%
$25,000 balance 0.06% 0.06% 0.13% 0.14% 0.11%
$50,000 balance 0.07% 0.06% 0.14% 0.10% 0.12%
Wallet Hub Checking Interest Index 0.24% 0.04% 0.30% 0.17% 0.11%

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Checking Account Fees and Features Over Time

Change in Average Fees on Checking Accounts Over Time*

Wallet Hub Checking Account Fee Index
Q4 2013 Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q2 2014 vs Q1 2014
Monthly Fee $5.55 $5.71 $5.80 1.46%
Monthly Fee w/ Min Requirements to Waive Met $0.39 $0.43 $0.47 7.50%
Min Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $3,170 $3,249 $3,879 19.39%
Non-Bank ATM Fees $1.59 $1.73 $1.73 -0.04%
Paper Statement Fee $1.20 $0.80 $0.79 -1.68%
Online Bill Pay $0.38 $0.37 $0.39 3.80%
Minimum to Open $124 $126 $129 2.18%
Overdraft Fee $32 $32 $32 -0.25%
Insufficient Funds Fee $32 $32 $32 -0.16%
Wallet Hub Checking Account Fee Index $39 $40 $40 1.57%

*Averages based on Personal Branch checking accounts
 

Change in Key Features on Checking Accounts Over Time*

Q4 2013 Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q2 2014 vs Q1 2014
% $0 Monthly Fee w/ No Min Requirements 43.65% 42.30% 41.88% -0.98%
% $0 Non-Bank ATM Fee N/A 9.96% 8.66% -13.04%
% Reimburse ATM Fees N/A N/A 13.35% N/A
% $0 Paper Statement Fee N/A 68.55% 68.75% 0.29%
% $0 Overdraft/ NSF Fees 0.00% 0.00% 0.30% N/A
% $0 Minimum to Open 24.62% 22.45% 22.51% 0.26%
% $0 Online Bill Pay 92.05% 92.06% 92.11% 0.05%
% Interest Bearing** 19.23% 19.95% 20.42% 2.36%
% Offer Rewards 19.80% 20.37% 20.68% 1.55%
Wallet Hub Checking Account Features Index N/A N/A 29.21% N/A

*Averages based on Personal Branch checking accounts
**$1,000 balance
 

Change in Interest Rate for Interest Bearing Checking Accounts Over Time

Wallet Hub Checking Account
Interest Index
Q4 2013 Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q2 2014 vs Q1 2014
$1,000 balance 0.25% 0.24% 0.27% 12.67%
$3,000 balance 0.23% 0.22% 0.25% 10.84%
$10,000 balance 0.20% 0.20% 0.22% 13.69%
$25,000 balance 0.12% 0.11% 0.14% 26.36%
$50,000 balance 0.11% 0.11% 0.11% 3.57%
Wallet Hub Checking Interest Index 0.22% 0.21% 0.24% 12.20%

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Savings Accounts by Account Type

Average Interest Rate for Savings, Money Market Accounts (MMA) by Account Type

Wallet Hub Savings and MMA Account Interest Index by Account Type
Personal-Online Personal-Branch Business-Branch Student-Branch
$1,000 balance 0.59% 0.12% 0.08% 0.54%
$3,000 balance 0.61% 0.14% 0.09% 0.41%
$10,000 balance 0.69% 0.15% 0.11% 0.43%
$25,000 balance 0.69% 0.17% 0.12% 0.44%
$50,000 balance 0.71% 0.18% 0.14% 0.44%
Wallet Hub Savings Interest Index 0.63% 0.14% 0.10% 0.45%

 

Average Interest Rate for CDs by Account Type

Personal-Branch Business-Branch Student-Branch
3-Mo CD 0.14% 0.10% 0.10%
6-Mo CD 0.22% 0.17% 0.10%
1-Yr CD 0.35% 0.27% 0.42%
2-Yr CD 0.54% 0.32% 0.30%
3-Yr CD 0.74% 0.60% 0.25%
5-Yr CD 1.18% 1.09% 1.47%

 

Minimum to Open Requirements Savings, Money Market Accounts and CDs by Account Type

Personal-Online Personal-Branch Business-Branch Student-Branch
Average Minimum to Open Savings/ MMA $3,443 $983 $4,507 $28
% $0 Min to Open Savings/ MMA 19.05% 11.30% 1.96% 20.00%
Average Minimum to Open CD N/A $933 $1,066 $725
% $0 Min to Open CD N/A 1.73% 0.00% 0.00%

 

Monthly Fees on Savings and Money Market Accounts by Account Type

Personal-Online Personal-Branch Business-Branch Student-Branch
Average Monthly Fee $2.11 $5.08 $10.39 $0.00
Average Minimum Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $4,250 $1,627 $3,520 N/A
% $0 Monthly Fee 78.95% 25.63% 15.56% 100.00%
Average Monthly Fee with Minimum Requirements to Waive Met $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00

 

Access to Funds Savings and Money Market Account by Account Type

Personal-Online Personal-Branch Business-Branch Student-Branch
% with $0 Fee for Withdrawals 100.00% 87.83% 97.83% 92.86%
Ability to Write Checks 76.19% 60.80% 76.00% 25.00%
Offer ATM Card 47.62% 77.08% 68.00% 55.00%

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Savings Accounts by Institution Type

Average Interest Rate for Savings, Money Market Accounts (MMA) by Institution Type

Wallet Hub Savings and MMA Account Interest Index by Institution Type
Community Small Regional National Credit Union
$1,000 balance 0.12% 0.06% 0.06% 0.07% 0.18%
$3,000 balance 0.12% 0.06% 0.06% 0.07% 0.21%
$10,000 balance 0.13% 0.07% 0.08% 0.08% 0.23%
$25,000 balance 0.13% 0.09% 0.11% 0.08% 0.26%
$50,000 balance 0.13% 0.10% 0.12% 0.09% 0.28%
Wallet Hub Savings Interest Index 0.13% 0.07% 0.07% 0.07% 0.21%

 

Average Interest Rate for CD's by Institution Type

Community Small Regional National Credit Union
3-Mo CD 0.11% 0.11% 0.13% 0.05% 0.25%
6-Mo CD 0.18% 0.14% 0.14% 0.13% 0.34%
1-Yr CD 0.30% 0.27% 0.22% 0.18% 0.52%
2-Yr CD 0.49% 0.36% 0.41% 0.24% 0.79%
3-Yr CD 0.71% 0.56% 0.65% 0.36% 1.14%
5-Yr CD 1.21% 0.89% 1.12% 0.58% 1.68%

 

Minimum to Open Requirements Savings and Money Market Accounts and CDs by Institution Type

Community Small Regional National Credit Union
Average Minimum to Open Savings/ MMA $379 $2,146 $1,123 $43 $702
% $0 Min to Open Savings/ MMA 15.79% 2.94% 2.50% 27.78% 13.64%
Average Minimum to Open CD $949 $1,047 $699 $891 $810
% $0 Min to Open CD 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 15.63% 0.00%

 

Monthly Fees on Savings and Money Market Accounts by Institution Type

Community Small Regional National Credit Union
Average Monthly Fee $4.52 $6.44 $7.64 $5.18 $1.69
Average Minimum Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $941 $3,057 $2,941 $1,169 $781
% $0 Monthly Fee 13.51% 6.25% 13.51% 27.78% 71.88%
Average Monthly Fee with Minimum Requirements to Waive Met $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00

 

Access to Funds Savings and Money Market Account by Institution Type

Community Small Regional National Credit Union
% with $0 Fee for Withdrawals 91.18% 79.31% 87.18% 77.78% 90.63%
Ability to Write Checks 57.89% 67.65% 80.00% 88.89% 40.91%
Offer ATM Card 84.21% 79.41% 95.00% 94.44% 61.36%

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Savings Accounts by Region

Average Interest Rate for Savings, Money Market Accounts (MMA) by Region

Wallet Hub Savings and MMA Account Interest Index by Region
Midwest West Southwest Southeast Northeast
$1,000 balance 0.09% 0.06% 0.11% 0.17% 0.09%
$3,000 balance 0.10% 0.06% 0.13% 0.17% 0.10%
$10,000 balance 0.12% 0.08% 0.13% 0.19% 0.12%
$25,000 balance 0.15% 0.09% 0.14% 0.18% 0.16%
$50,000 balance 0.15% 0.11% 0.15% 0.19% 0.18%
Wallet Hub Savings Interest Index 0.11% 0.07% 0.13% 0.18% 0.11%

 

Average Interest Rate for CDs by Region

Midwest West Southwest Southeast Northeast
3-Mo CD 0.12% 0.10% 0.14% 0.18% 0.19%
6-Mo CD 0.16% 0.17% 0.23% 0.23% 0.23%
1-Yr CD 0.29% 0.27% 0.36% 0.37% 0.37%
2-Yr CD 0.47% 0.40% 0.58% 0.55% 0.57%
3-Yr CD 0.71% 0.54% 0.87% 0.82% 0.86%
5-Yr CD 1.12% 1.04% 1.28% 1.33% 1.23%

 

Minimum to Open Requirements Savings and Money Market Accounts and CDs by Region

Midwest West Southwest Southeast Northeast
Average Minimum to Open Savings/ MMA $1,170 $1,819 $388 $238 $1,030
% $0 Min to Open Savings/ MMA 12.50% 11.43% 6.06% 3.03% 19.51%
Average Minimum to Open CD $642 $1,086 $728 $1,288 $782
% $0 Min to Open CD 0.00% 0.00% 6.25% 0.00% 0.00%

 

Monthly Fees on Savings and Money Market Accounts by Region

Midwest West Southwest Southeast Northeast
Average Monthly Fee $5.63 $4.34 $5.30 $5.18 $5.43
Average Minimum Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $2,068 $3,105 $1,434 $1,313 $2,268
% $0 Monthly Fee 23.08% 37.14% 16.67% 21.43% 27.03%
Average Monthly Fee with Minimum Requirements to Waive Met $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00

 

Access to Funds Savings and Money Market Account by Region

Midwest West Southwest Southeast Northeast
% with $0 Fee for Withdrawals 96.15% 85.71% 80.00% 83.33% 87.10%
Ability to Write Checks 56.25% 60.00% 69.70% 69.70% 63.41%
Offer ATM Card 87.50% 94.29% 78.79% 75.76% 70.73%

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Savings Account Fees and Features Over Time

Change in Interest Rate for Savings, Money Market Accounts (MMA) Over Time

Wallet Hub Checking Account Savings/ MMA Index
Q4 2013 Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q2 2014 vs Q1 2014
$1,000 balance 0.11% 0.12% 0.12% 7.39%
$3,000 balance 0.12% 0.13% 0.14% 6.57%
$10,000 balance 0.14% 0.13% 0.15% 20.04%
$25,000 balance 0.16% 0.15% 0.17% 16.11%
$50,000 balance 0.17% 0.16% 0.18% 11.65%
Wallet Hub Savings Interest Index 0.13% 0.13% 0.14% 10.78%

 

Change in Interest Rate CD's Over Time

Q4 2013 Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q2 2014 vs Q1 2014
3-Mo CD N/A 0.14% 0.14% 0.64%
6-Mo CD N/A 0.21% 0.22% 0.71%
1-Yr CD N/A 0.34% 0.35% 1.45%
2-Yr CD N/A 0.53% 0.54% 1.56%
3-Yr CD N/A 0.73% 0.74% 1.72%
5-Yr CD N/A 1.14% 1.18% 3.81%

 

Change in Minimum to Open Requirements Savings, Money Market Accounts and CDs Over Time

Q4 2013 Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q2 2014 vs Q1 2014
Average Minimum to Open Savings/ MMA N/A $810 $983 21.40%
% $0 Min to Open Savings/ MMA N/A 12.46% 11.30% -9.33%
Average Minimum to Open CD $946 $924 $933 0.97%
% $0 Min to Open CD N/A 1.34% 1.73% 29.48%

 

Change in Monthly Fees on Savings and Money Market Accounts Over Time

Q4 2013 Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q2 2014 vs Q1 2014
Average Monthly Fee $5.39 $5.07 $5.08 0.20%
Average Minimum Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $1,804 $1,569 $1,627 3.66%
% $0 Monthly Fee 25.35% 26.28% 25.63% -2.46%
Average Monthly Fee with Minimum Requirements to Waive Met $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 N/A

 

Change in Access to Funds in Savings and Money Market Account Over Time

Q4 2013 Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q2 2014 vs Q1 2014
% with $0 Fee for Withdrawals N/A 86.96% 87.83% 1.01%
Ability to Write Checks 57.89% 59.80% 60.80% 1.67%
Offer ATM Card N/A 77.03% 77.08% 0.06%

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Methodology

Data Collection:
Information for this report was collected from the websites and online fee schedules of each institution. In some cases, we were unable to locate individual fees or features associated with specific accounts. In those instances, we reported the averages of those institutions with valid data. However, we did not report any finding with fewer than 30 valid data points for the account type analysis or 10 valid data points for the institution size and regional analysis.

For the portions of the analysis that present findings by account type and compare a change in fees, features and rates over time, we reviewed 699 checking accounts and 1310 savings, MMA and CD accounts.

In order for the comparison to be consistent, the portion of our analysis that presents findings by institution type and by region reports averages for personal checking and savings accounts from 110 financial institutions including 25 community banks ($10B in total deposit volume), 25 regional banks (≤$10B – $100B in total deposit volume), 10 National Banks (those with National footprint), and 25 credit unions. Each institution-type category, excluding National Banks, is weighted by region and thus includes five institutions from each region of the US (Midwest, West, Southwest, Southeast, Northeast). The regional designation for each institution type, excluding National Banks, was chosen based on the state where each institution is headquartered. Because National banks have, by definition, a footprint that reaches across multiple portions of the US, they were excluded from our regional analysis.

Although we chose the institutions for our sample of each institution type and regional category at random, some results may be skewed by selection bias due to the small number of institutions in each category.

Wallet Hub Index Weights:
The WalletHub Fee index includes the following common fees associated with checking accounts, multiplied by the estimated number of times an average consumer might be expected to incur each fee on an annual basis (weight). The total annual fee is then divided by 12 to achieve an estimate of the monthly checking account fees incurred by the average person.

Checking Account Fees Fee Index Weight
Monthly Fee 4
Monthly Fee w/ Min Requirements to Waive Met 8
Non-Bank ATM Fees 2
Online Bill Pay 3.9
Overdraft Fee 3.2

The WalletHub Fee Index is intended to enable the comparison of checking account costs across various segments of the banking industry. Obviously monthly checking account fees are different for each customer, depending upon banking preferences and usage habits. Consumers should therefore consider their own banking patterns when shopping for an account.

The WalletHub Features Index includes the following features and their respective weights. Weights were chosen based on the relative value of each feature to the average consumer. For instance, most people would prioritize a $0 monthly fee over the availability of paper statements. Therefore, the “% $0 Monthly Fee w/ No Min Requirements” is given a weight of five, while the “% $0 Paper Statement Fee” is given a weight of 1.

Checking Account Features Features Index Weight
% $0 Monthly Fee w/ No Min Requirements 5
% $0 Non-Bank ATM Fee 3
% Reimburse ATM Fees 3
% $0 Paper Statement Fee 1
% $0 Overdraft/ NSF Fees 3
% $0 Minimum to Open 1
% $0 Online Bill Pay 2
% Interest Bearing 2
% Offer Rewards 1

The WalletHub Checking and Savings Interest Index include the following weights, adjusted to account for the average savings account balance of $5,923, as reported by Pitney Bowes in 2012. We included interest rates for both checking accounts and savings accounts, as they are highly competitive in today’s market.

Checking and Savings Account Interest Interest Index Weight
$1,000 balance 3.5
$3,000 balance 7
$10,000 balance 4
$25,000 balance 0.5
$50,000 balance 0.25

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Sonia Garrison is Research Manager at Evolution Finance. Previously she worked as a Senior Researcher at the Center for Responsible Lending. Sonia has more than 20 years experience…
171 Wallet Points