Any consumer who has ever used an out-of-network ATM knows just how expensive such a transaction can be. Between the fees charged by the ATM operator and your bank, you’re looking at paying up to $5 just for the pleasure of accessing your own money. A new offer from Charles Schwab eliminates such fees, however.
While better known for its investment utilities, The Charles Schwab Corporation also operates the Charles Schwab Bank, which offers – among other personal banking accounts – a High Yield Investor Checking Account that offers rebates on fees assessed for withdrawing funds from any ATM in addition to free online bill pay, free checks, a free Visa Platinum Check Card and a 0.25% variable APY.
Such an account is also free to sign up for and maintain and has no minimum balance requirement, though it must be linked to a Schwab One Brokerage Account, which itself has no minimum balance requirements, minimum balance charges or minimum trade requirements when opened together with a High Yield Checking Account. Schwab charges a flat $8.95 commission for each trade.
It’s therefore clear that Chuck is using these free accounts to lure customers for their more costly investment programs, but as long as consumers can remain disciplined, industry experts say, the High Yield Checking Account is a solid option.
“If you’re someone who withdraws cash from ATMs on a frequent basis and requires location diversity, Schwab’s ATM-fee-free checking account can help you save big,” said Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of WalletHub. “Just think: If you take out money once a week and get charged out-of-market fees half the time, you’re wasting around $100 annually. And it’s easier to change your checking account than alter long-practiced habits.”
Still, Papadimitriou adds that consumers should not use this Charles Schwab account as a comprehensive bank account replacement.
“Consumers using Chuck’s checking account as their sole bank account will leave interest on the table,” he said. “Combine it with a high-yield savings account, however, and you’re strategically maximizing your banking potential.”