One simple way to save money every month is by switching to banks with free checking accounts. Banks have the nasty habit of charging tons of fees and put a lot of requirements on your account in order to avoid the fees.
No direct deposit? You’re out of luck.
Unable to maintain a $1500 minimum monthly balance? Too bad.
Not able to link your checking to a savings account with $25,000? Sucks to be you.
There are a few banks out there that still do have genuinely free checking.
I don’t consider banks that have stringent requirements as having free accounts, even though it is possible you could have ‘free’ checking with something like direct deposit.
With them, you run the risk of them adding another requirement or just changing it so that some happy month you see a $12 fee in your account.
Ditch them and go to banks with free checking and no fees.
I just recently heard about this deal with T-Mobile.
Did you know T-Mobile has free checking?
Neither did I.
I looked and I think its a great deal. I also just opened an account with them.
I happen to use T-Mobile as my cell phone provider. I switched from Verizon who was killing me with monthly bills over $100 and no unlimited data. (read about it here)
Consequently, I love T-Mobile.
Now they have a checking account that gives you 1% interest on the money in your account (even if you don’t have T-Mobile cell service).
If you do happen to use T-Mobile for your cell service, and you sign up for their ‘perks’ program, you will earn 4% interest on your account during the months when you deposit $200 or more.
Note that that’s not to avoid fees. There are no fees. There’s not even an overdraft fee (up to $50).
The condition is only if you’ll earn 1% or 4%.
Interest bearing, no fee checking accounts are REALLY hard to find.
(By the way, if the link in the picture isn’t working, just go to t-mobile.com and look for T-Mobile Money)
The 55,000+ no fee ATMs are in Walgreens, CVS, Target, etc… There is probably one closer to where you live than your bank.
It only takes a few minutes to sign up and then you can start using it. You can fund it by depositing a check through the T-Mobile Money app, by transferring from an external bank account or by setting up a direct deposit. (Remember, that’s not a requirement to avoid fees. Its only to fund the account.)
I used to bank with Bank of America.
I opened the account a long time ago when they had free checking, then they changed the rules and their only account that was free was e-banking (Strictly ATM transactions).
Then they changed their rules again and grandfathered me in for a couple of years, but finally, it was just too hard for them.
They eliminated the account altogether.
Now (the last time I checked), their cheapest account is $12 /month, unless you have direct deposit or maintain some horrendously high minimum balance, etc…
It’s not one of my life goals to make banks rich. So….
I checked around and found BBVA Compass. I love them.
NOT A SINGLE FEE, EVER.
No minimum balance.
No direct deposit requirements.
No fees for using a teller.
No debit card fees.
I recommend them highly, and if you’re in a part of the US that has brick and mortar BBVA Compass branches, so much the better.
They operate in Florida, Texas, Arizona, Alabama, California, Colorado and New Mexico.
BMO Harris Bank
The BMO part of the name stands for Bank of Montreal.
They are the parent organization of this bank. They offer free checking and the only restriction for that account is to accept your bank statements electronically instead of paper statements.
They seem just a tad bit more restictive to me than BBVA Compass, but if all you need is a general purpose checking account, these guys are just fine.
They have branches in Florida, Missouri, Minnesota, Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Arizona.