2014 Banking Landscape Report

by Alina Comoreanu

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.

 

Main Findings

  • Even if you qualify for a business or student account, a personal online savings account is probably going to provide the best interest rate, as such accounts offer an average of 55% higher interest rates than personal online checking accounts (the next best thing). If the online domain is not for you, then perhaps counter-intuitively, the best interest rates can actually be found with in-branch checking accounts, which provide 80% higher interest rates than their savings account counterparts.
  • Business checking accounts are at the bottom of the banking totem pole, charging 127% more than personal online checking accounts, offering 45% fewer features and returning 73% less when in interest. Small business owners should therefore gravitate to personal accounts as much as possible.
  • Student checking accounts have the lowest fees on the market, charging 47% less than general-consumer online accounts. However, student accounts cannot compete when it comes to additional perks, offering 87% lower interest rates and 9% fewer features.
  • Credit unions continue to provide the best deals, offering over 10-times more interest on checking accounts than regional banks as well as 573% higher rates on savings accounts than national banks.
  • Midwestern checking accounts charge the lowest fees and offer the highest interest rates. On the flip side, the Southeast charges the highest fees and the West boasts the lowest rates.
  • Checking account interest rates increased 9.39% during the fourth quarter, while rates for savings accounts held mostly flat, rising just 0.92%. The most pronounced checking account rate increases were seen among balances of at least $25,000, which rose as much as 26%.
  • Perhaps in response to market pressures, non-bank ATM fees for checking accounts declined 6.65% during the fourth quarter, while paper statement fees increased 1.51%.
  • The percentage of checking accounts that reimburse ATM fees fell 9.86% during Q4, and the percentage of checking accounts that are interest bearing also dropped by 6.28%.
  • Certificates of Deposit are not worth it, as a 3-year CD offers essentially the same interest rate as an online savings account.

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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 $3.93 $5.96 $8.74 $0.63
Monthly Fee w/ Min Requirements to Waive Met $0.29 $0.52 $1.27 $0.03
Min Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $2,367 $3,793 $6,074 $1,250
Non-Bank ATM Fees $0.87 $1.63 $1.81 $1.45
Paper Statement Fee $2.23 $1.08 $0.77 $1.42
Online Bill Pay $0.11 $0.46 $1.42 $0.11
Minimum to Open $132 $127 $108 $41
Overdraft Fee $28 $32 $32 $33
Insufficient Funds Fee $28 $32 $32 $33
Wallet Hub Checking Account Fee Index $28 $42 $63 $15

 

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 56.86% 41.94% 37.31% 85.48%
% $0 Non-Bank ATM Fee 63.64% 19.22% 12.50% 28.57%
% Reimburse ATM Fees 41.18% 12.90% 3.52% 22.58%
% $0 Paper Statement Fee 35.00% 56.39% 73.28% 44.68%
% $0 Overdraft/ NSF Fees 7.84% 0.99% 1.01% 0.00%
% $0 Minimum to Open 7.84% 21.09% 30.15% 24.19%
% $0 Online Bill Pay 97.83% 89.67% 78.85% 98.21%
% Interest Bearing* 41.18% 19.85% 9.55% 6.45%
% Offer Rewards 13.73% 19.85% 7.04% 11.29%
Wallet Hub Checking Account Features Index 45.56% 29.78% 24.99% 41.45%
*$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 0.44% 0.28% 0.11% 0.05%
$3,000 balance 0.40% 0.26% 0.11% 0.05%
$10,000 balance 0.42% 0.23% 0.11% 0.05%
$25,000 balance 0.37% 0.16% 0.11% 0.05%
$50,000 balance 0.40% 0.14% 0.12% 0.05%
Wallet Hub Checking Interest Index 0.41% 0.25% 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 $5.74 $7.04 $10.29 $14.88 $1.87
Monthly Fee w/ Min Requirements to Waive Met $0.37 $0.16 $0.96 $0.21 $0.27
Min Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $2,930 $3,515 $3,142 $5,726 $11,500
Non-Bank ATM Fees $1.58 $1.82 $1.86 $2.00 $1.15
Paper Statement Fee $1.99 $1.23 $1.59 $0.62 $0.26
Online Bill Pay $0.89 $0.26 $0.37 $0.12 $0.80
Minimum to Open $381 $89 $168 $54 $176
Overdraft Fee $31 $32 $34 $34 $25
Insufficient Funds Fee $31 $32 $34 $34 $26
Wallet Hub Checking Account Fee Index $41 $43 $63 $75 $22

 

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 42.22% 32.56% 14.58% 3.57% 76.67%
% $0 Non-Bank ATM Fee 6.67% 6.98% 25.00% 17.86% 16.67%
% Reimburse ATM Fees 17.78% 13.95% 18.75% 17.86% 10.00%
% $0 Paper Statement Fee 26.09% 45.16% 46.51% 65.38% 85.19%
% $0 Overdraft/ NSF Fees 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 3.57% 6.67%
% $0 Minimum to Open 8.89% 11.63% 6.25% 25.00% 66.67%
% $0 Online Bill Pay 82.05% 94.74% 91.49% 96.15% 80.00%
% Interest Bearing* 35.56% 25.58% 35.42% 32.14% 46.67%
% Offer Rewards 4.44% 18.60% 12.50% 25.00% 13.33%
Wallet Hub Checking Account Features Index 26.62% 25.79% 24.92% 24.18% 42.95%
*$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 0.34% 0.06% 0.04% 0.06% 0.51%
$3,000 balance 0.27% 0.06% 0.04% 0.06% 0.51%
$10,000 balance 0.26% 0.06% 0.04% 0.07% 0.35%
$25,000 balance 0.17% 0.07% 0.05% 0.07% 0.17%
$50,000 balance 0.15% 0.08% 0.05% 0.07% 0.19%
Wallet Hub Checking Interest Index 0.28% 0.06% 0.04% 0.06% 0.45%

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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 $7.19 $8.91 $7.74 $7.57 $7.85
Monthly Fee w/ Min Requirements to Waive Met $0.00 $0.00 $0.56 $1.35 $0.25
Min Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $5,550 $3,096 $4,642 $4,454 $3,574
Non-Bank ATM Fees $1.63 $1.83 $1.73 $1.66 $1.67
Paper Statement Fee $1.19 $1.08 $1.78 $1.10 $0.79
Online Bill Pay $0.85 $0.13 $1.25 $0.26 $0.14
Minimum to Open $121 $320 $94 $324 $42
Overdraft Fee $33 $30 $30 $31 $33
Insufficient Funds Fee $33 $31 $30 $31 $33
Wallet Hub Checking Account Fee Index $44 $48 $52 $54 $46

 

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 48.65% 21.43% 25.71% 30.00% 40.00%
% $0 Non-Bank ATM Fee 18.92% 9.52% 11.43% 12.50% 20.00%
% Reimburse ATM Fees 13.51% 16.67% 11.43% 15.00% 22.50%
% $0 Paper Statement Fee 43.33% 50.00% 52.00% 58.06% 64.29%
% $0 Overdraft/ NSF Fees 0.00% 2.38% 2.86% 2.50% 0.00%
% $0 Minimum to Open 40.54% 14.29% 14.29% 12.50% 20.00%
% $0 Online Bill Pay 80.00% 97.30% 77.42% 90.00% 97.30%
% Interest Bearing* 32.43% 26.19% 48.57% 37.50% 30.00%
% Offer Rewards 18.92% 9.52% 5.71% 17.50% 17.50%
Wallet Hub Checking Account Features Index 31.82% 24.46% 25.22% 27.76% 32.57%
*$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 0.37% 0.04% 0.33% 0.16% 0.12%
$3,000 balance 0.30% 0.04% 0.33% 0.16% 0.11%
$10,000 balance 0.31% 0.04% 0.21% 0.16% 0.10%
$25,000 balance 0.13% 0.05% 0.13% 0.13% 0.11%
$50,000 balance 0.14% 0.06% 0.13% 0.10% 0.12%
Wallet Hub Checking Interest Index 0.31% 0.04% 0.29% 0.16% 0.11%

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Checking Account Differences Over Time

Change in Average Fees on Checking Accounts Over Time*

Wallet Hub Checking Account Fee Index

Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q3 2014 Q4 2014 Q4 2014 vs Q3 2014
Monthly Fee $5.71 $5.80 $5.96 $5.96 -0.07%
Monthly Fee w/ Min Requirements to Waive Met $0.43 $0.47 $0.51 $0.52 1.72%
Min Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $3,249 $3,879 $3,855 $3,793 -1.62%
Non-Bank ATM Fees $1.73 $1.73 $1.75 $1.63 -6.65%
Paper Statement Fee $0.80 $0.79 $1.07 $1.08 1.51%
Online Bill Pay $0.37 $0.39 $0.46 $0.46 0.20%
Minimum to Open $126 $129 $129 $127 -1.54%
Overdraft Fee $32.31 $32.23 $32.13 $32.07 -0.18%
Insufficient Funds Fee $32.32 $32.27 $32.21 $32.27 0.19%
Wallet Hub Checking Account Fee Index $40 $37 $38 $37 -0.69%
*Averages based on Personal Branch checking accounts

 
Change in Average Fees on Checking Accounts Over Time by Institution and Region

Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q3 2014 Q4 2014 Q4 2014 vs Q3 2014
Best Institution Credit Union
($21)
Credit Union
($21)
Credit Union
($22)
Credit Union
($22)
-0.15%
Worst Institution National
($74)
National
($77)
National
($74)
National
($75)
1.48%
Best vs. Worst Difference -72% -72% -70% -71% 0.68%
Best Region Midwest
($41)
Midwest
($44)
Midwest
($45)
Midwest
($44)
-2.96%
Worst Region SW
($49)
SE
($54)
SE
($53)
SE
($54)
1.44%
Best vs. Worst Difference -18% -18% -14% -18% 26.20%

 
Change in Key Features on Checking Accounts Over Time*

Wallet Hub Checking Account Features Index

Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q3 2014 Q4 2014 Q4 2014 vs Q3 2014
% $0 Monthly Fee w/ No Min Requirements 42.30% 41.88% 40.74% 41.94% 2.93%
% $0 Non-Bank ATM Fee 9.96% 8.66% 12.07% 19.22% N/A*
% Reimburse ATM Fees N/A 13.35% 14.29% 12.90% -9.68%
% $0 Paper Statement Fee 68.55% 68.75% 58.04% 56.39% -2.84%
% $0 Overdraft/ NSF Fees 0.00% 0.30% 0.56% 1.12% N/A*
% $0 Minimum to Open 22.45% 22.51% 21.67% 21.09% -2.69%
% $0 Online Bill Pay 92.06% 92.11% 90.03% 89.67% -0.39%
% Interest Bearing** 19.95% 20.42% 21.18% 19.85% -6.28%
% Offer Rewards 20.37% 20.68% 19.70% 19.85% 0.74%
Wallet Hub Checking Account Features Index N/A 29.21% 28.87% 29.80% 3.22%
*N/A designates a small sample size, whereby a single issuer’s policies could lead to significant statistical changes.
*Averages based on Personal Branch checking accounts
**$1,000 balance

 
Change in Key Features on Checking Accounts Over Time by Institution and Region

Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q3 2014 Q4 2014 Q4 2014 vs Q3 2014
Best Institution Credit Union
(41.14%)
Credit Union
(41.52%)
Credit Union
(40.26%)
Credit Union
(42.95%)
6.66%
Worst Institution National
(20.02%)
Regional
(24.12%)
Regional
(23.44%)
National
(24.18%)
3.15%
Best vs. Worst Difference 105.43% 72.12% 71.79% 77.64% 8.14%
Best Region Midwest
(32.25%)
NE
(33.44%)
NE
(32.42%)
NE
(32.57%)
0.46%
Worst Region SW
(22.07%)
West
(24.30%)
SW
(23.01%)
West
(24.46%)
6.28%
Best vs. Worst Difference 46.12% 37.64% 40.86% 33.14% -18.89%

 
Change in Interest Rate for Interest Bearing Checking Accounts Over Time

Wallet Hub Checking Account Interest Index

Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q3 2014 Q4 2014 Q4 2014 vs Q3 2014
$1,000 balance 0.24% 0.27% 0.26% 0.28% 9.73%
$3,000 balance 0.22% 0.25% 0.24% 0.26% 8.69%
$10,000 balance 0.20% 0.22% 0.22% 0.23% 8.79%
$25,000 balance 0.11% 0.14% 0.13% 0.16% 23.53%
$50,000 balance 0.11% 0.11% 0.11% 0.14% 26.23%
Wallet Hub Checking Interest Index 0.21% 0.24% 0.23% 0.25% 9.39%

 
Change in Interest Rate for Interest Bearing Checking Accounts Over Time by Institution and Region

Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q3 2014 Q4 2014 Q4 2014 vs Q3 2014
Best Institution Credit Union
(0.45%)
Credit Union
(0.43%)
Credit Union
(0.45%)
Credit Union
(0.45%)
0.00%
Worst Institution Regional
(0.04%)
Regional
(0.04%)
Regional
(0.04%)
Regional
(0.04%)
-2.16%
Best vs. Worst Difference 918.97% 872.72% 988.89% 1012.90% 2.43%
Best Region SW
(0.32%)
SW
(0.30%)
SW
(0.29%)
Midwest
(0.31%)
8.75%
Worst Region West
(0.08%)
West
(0.04%)
West
(0.04%)
West
(0.04%)
7.40%
Best vs. Worst Difference 277.57% 696.40% 680.15% 689.99% 1.45%

 
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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 0.61% 0.13% 0.09% 0.58%
$3,000 balance 0.63% 0.14% 0.10% 0.43%
$10,000 balance 0.66% 0.15% 0.11% 0.44%
$25,000 balance 0.67% 0.17% 0.12% 0.46%
$50,000 balance 0.68% 0.18% 0.13% 0.46%
Wallet Hub Savings Interest Index 0.63% 0.14% 0.10% 0.47%

 
Average Interest Rate for CDs by Account Type

Personal-Branch Business-Branch Student-Branch
3-Mo CD 0.14% 0.09% 0.10%
6-Mo CD 0.21% 0.16% 0.10%
1-Yr CD 0.35% 0.25% 0.43%
2-Yr CD 0.55% 0.35% 0.28%
3-Yr CD 0.77% 0.59% 0.25%
5-Yr CD 1.21% 1.01% 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 $2,837 $986 $4,306 $16
% $0 Min to Open Savings/ MMA 22.73% 13.04% 3.77% 22.22%
Average Minimum to Open CD $500 $1,041 $1,034 $725
% $0 Min to Open CD 0.00% 1.82% 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 $1.75 $5.17 $8.78 $0.00
Average Minimum Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $2,333 $1,700 $3,067 N/A
% $0 Monthly Fee 80.00% 25.83% 10.64% 100.00%
Average Monthly Fee with Minimum Requirements to Waive Met $0.23 $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% 88.89% 97.87% 92.86%
Ability to Write Checks 86.36% 63.88% 80.77% 27.78%
Offer ATM Card 45.45% 70.23% 63.46% 55.56%

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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 0.13% 0.06% 0.05% 0.03% 0.19%
$3,000 balance 0.13% 0.06% 0.06% 0.03% 0.22%
$10,000 balance 0.14% 0.07% 0.08% 0.04% 0.23%
$25,000 balance 0.13% 0.08% 0.10% 0.05% 0.27%
$50,000 balance 0.14% 0.09% 0.12% 0.05% 0.29%
Wallet Hub Savings Interest Index 0.13% 0.06% 0.06% 0.03% 0.22%

 
Average Interest Rate for CD's by Institution Type

Community Small Regional National Credit Union
3-Mo CD 0.11% 0.10% 0.11% 0.05% 0.25%
6-Mo CD 0.19% 0.14% 0.16% 0.12% 0.32%
1-Yr CD 0.32% 0.26% 0.24% 0.18% 0.52%
2-Yr CD 0.52% 0.36% 0.44% 0.24% 0.76%
3-Yr CD 0.79% 0.51% 0.68% 0.36% 1.14%
5-Yr CD 1.24% 0.87% 1.09% 0.57% 1.76%

 
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 $367 $1,632 $1,547 $47 $709
% $0 Min to Open Savings/ MMA 14.29% 14.29% 2.38% 25.00% 13.33%
Average Minimum to Open CD $986 $1,046 $1,127 $908 $1,299
% $0 Min to Open CD 0.00% 0.00% 1.79% 13.16% 0.00%

 
Monthly Fees on Savings and Money Market Accounts by Institution Type

Community Small Regional National Credit Union
Average Monthly Fee $5.01 $6.22 $7.69 $6.00 $1.73
Average Minimum Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $973 $2,763 $3,517 $1,092 $723
% $0 Monthly Fee 6.67% 9.38% 17.50% 18.75% 69.70%
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 87.10% 89.29% 84.62% 80.00% 90.91%
Ability to Write Checks 57.14% 57.14% 83.33% 93.75% 46.67%
Offer ATM Card 60.00% 74.29% 88.10% 68.75% 55.56%

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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% 0.07% 0.09% 0.19% 0.09%
$3,000 balance 0.10% 0.07% 0.11% 0.19% 0.10%
$10,000 balance 0.11% 0.10% 0.12% 0.19% 0.12%
$25,000 balance 0.14% 0.10% 0.12% 0.18% 0.16%
$50,000 balance 0.14% 0.12% 0.13% 0.19% 0.18%
Wallet Hub Savings Interest Index 0.10% 0.08% 0.11% 0.19% 0.10%

 
Average Interest Rate for CDs by Region

Midwest West Southwest Southeast Northeast
3-Mo CD 0.13% 0.11% 0.10% 0.23% 0.19%
6-Mo CD 0.17% 0.18% 0.21% 0.26% 0.21%
1-Yr CD 0.30% 0.29% 0.35% 0.44% 0.37%
2-Yr CD 0.45% 0.43% 0.59% 0.63% 0.52%
3-Yr CD 0.71% 0.62% 0.87% 0.82% 0.80%
5-Yr CD 1.15% 1.11% 1.26% 1.27% 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 $1,213 $1,739 $395 $666 $867
% $0 Min to Open Savings/ MMA 17.14% 6.45% 3.13% 6.25% 23.26%
Average Minimum to Open CD $682 $1,136 $709 $1,888 $1,410
% $0 Min to Open CD 0.00% 0.00% 7.50% 0.00% 0.00%

 
Monthly Fees on Savings and Money Market Accounts by Region

Midwest West Southwest Southeast Northeast
Average Monthly Fee $5.92 $4.47 $5.41 $5.30 $5.69
Average Minimum Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $2,262 $3,096 $1,434 $1,863 $2,191
% $0 Monthly Fee 24.14% 40.00% 13.33% 22.22% 25.71%
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 96.30% 93.55% 79.31% 79.31% 86.67%
Ability to Write Checks 48.57% 83.87% 62.50% 68.75% 60.47%
Offer ATM Card 71.43% 87.10% 75.00% 68.75% 51.16%

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Savings Account Differences Over Time

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

Wallet Hub Checking Account Savings/ MMA Index

Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q3 2014 Q4 2014 Q4 2014 vs Q3 2014
$1,000 balance 0.12% 0.12% 0.12% 0.13% 1.84%
$3,000 balance 0.13% 0.14% 0.14% 0.14% 0.70%
$10,000 balance 0.13% 0.15% 0.15% 0.15% 0.67%
$25,000 balance 0.15% 0.17% 0.17% 0.17% 0.55%
$50,000 balance 0.16% 0.18% 0.18% 0.18% 0.62%
Wallet Hub Savings Interest Index 0.13% 0.14% 0.14% 0.14% 0.92%

 
Change in Interest Rate for Savings, Money Market Accounts (MMA) Over Time by Institution and Region

Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q3 2014 Q4 2014 Q4 2014 vs Q3 2014
Best Institution Credit Union
(0.21%)
Credit Union
(0.21%)
Credit Union
(0.21%)
Credit Union
(0.22%)
2.89%
Worst Institution Regional
(0.07%)
Regional
(0.07%)
National
(0.03%)
National
(0.03%)
10.54%
Best vs. Worst Difference 209.47% 217.59% 623.57% 573.50% -8.03%
Best Region SE
(0.20%)
SE
(0.18%)
SE
(0.18%)
SE
(0.19%)
6.13%
Worst Region West
(0.07%)
West
(0.07%)
West
(0.07%)
West
(0.08%)
9.59%
Best vs. Worst Difference 198.82% 155.40% 139.95% 132.36% -5.42%

 
Change in Interest Rate CD's Over Time

Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q3 2014 Q4 2014 Q4 2014 vs Q3 2014
3-Mo CD 0.14% 0.14% 0.14% 0.14% 1.55%
6-Mo CD 0.21% 0.22% 0.22% 0.21% -0.66%
1-Yr CD 0.34% 0.35% 0.35% 0.35% 0.74%
2-Yr CD 0.53% 0.54% 0.55% 0.55% 0.25%
3-Yr CD 0.73% 0.74% 0.76% 0.77% 1.25%
5-Yr CD 1.14% 1.18% 1.18% 1.21% 2.43%

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

Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q3 2014 Q4 2014 Q4 2014 vs Q3 2014
Average Minimum to Open Savings/ MMA $810 $983 $967 $986.43 2.00%
% $0 Min to Open Savings/ MMA 12.46% 11.30% 12.33% 13.04% 5.76%
Average Minimum to Open CD $924 $933 $1,013 $1040.53 2.71%
% $0 Min to Open CD 1.34% 1.73% 1.68% 1.82% 8.53%

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

Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q3 2014 Q4 2014 Q4 2014 vs Q3 2014
Average Monthly Fee $5.07 $5.08 $5.05 $5.17 2.44%
Average Minimum Balance to Avoid Monthly Fee $1,569 $1,627 $1,640 $1,700 3.68%
% $0 Monthly Fee 26.28% 25.63% 25.72% 25.83% 0.41%
Average Monthly Fee with Minimum Requirements to Waive Met $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 0.00%

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

Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q3 2014 Q4 2014 Q4 2014 vs Q3 2014
% with $0 Fee for Withdrawals 86.96% 87.83% 88.76% 88.89% 0.15%
Ability to Write Checks 59.80% 60.80% 63.33% 63.88% 0.86%
Offer ATM Card 77.03% 77.08% 74.33% 70.23% -5.51%

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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 718 checking accounts and 1333 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 (<$1 billion in total deposit volume), 25 small banks (≤$1B- >$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
Author
User
Alina is a Research Analyst at Evolution Finance. She is a Business Administration graduate. Previously she worked as a desktop publisher for a daily newspaper and for the National Census&Statistical…
100 Wallet Points