August 2017 – Checking Accounts Product Report

Checking accounts serve as a cornerstone of consumer banking—one of the most common products for people to begin a relationship with a financial institution. In this report, we investigate the standalone checking products and checking account packages offered by 18 Bank Monitor firms. We evaluate the features firms provide for each individual account, along with assessing checking account fees, including overdrafts and wire transfer fees.

Our survey of available checking accounts covers 74 standalone accounts and checking bundles, with fee structures and premium benefits varying between firms and accounts. Only 12 of these accounts—offered by nine firms (50%)—do not carry a monthly fee, with an average monthly maintenance fee of $14 across all fee-bearing accounts. Several high-end options require high minimum balances to waive this fee, with one from Citibank requiring $200,000 to open the account. While all firms provide fee-free debit card options, discrepancies appear among standard checks, overdraft fees, ATM fees and other services.