Do you like the bank that maintains your primary checking account? Bankrate did the legwork to compile a national-wide Checking Account Pricing Study from a sample of 464 checking account products offered by major banks. Below are the key results and how these numbers are compared to last survey done in spring 2004.
What's Becoming More Pro-Consumer?
Average yield in interest-bearing accounts: 0.28% (from 0.26%)
Average minimum to open interest-bearing account: $441.58 (8% decline from spring)
Average minimum to open a noninterest account: $56.97 (down from $60.61 in spring)
Average monthly service fee for noninterest account: $3.34 (down from $3.39 in spring)
Average minimum to avoid fees in a noninterest account: $206.33
Average minimum to avoid fees in an interest-bearing account: $2,086.93 (14% down from spring)
What's Becoming More Pricy? (i.e. Anti-Consumer)
Average ATM fee for noncustomers: $1.37 (from $1.32 in spring)
Percentage of institutions charging for ATM use: 91% (up from 89% in spring)
Average fee to use another bank's ATM: $1.29 (up from $1.28 in spring)
Checking account is the most "sticky" product; it gives the banks recurring revenue through surcharges and various fees and allows banks to cross sell you other financial products. As such, many financial institutions literally want to kill to get your account. Personally, I benefited from E*Trade's $175 offer and many other stunning offers in the past two years. So, if you want to shop for a new checking account, be sure take advantage of them.