According to WalletHub.com, a new personal finance social network that is trying to get your attention, nearly all of us have bank accounts, which means we're paying bank fees and we don't even know what they are -- or where to find out about them.
In what's called its "2013 Checking Account Fee Transparency Report," WalletHub states: "The average checking account has around 30 separate fees, most of which are not clearly disclosed. This pervasive, industry-wide lack of checking account fee transparency, of course, makes it extremely difficult for consumers to effectively compare checking account offers and thereby minimize what they pay for everyday cash management services."
"If you thought prepaid cards charged a lot of fees, you obviously haven't scrutinized a checking account agreement in too much detail," WalletHub Founder and CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou said, commenting on the report's findings.
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Well no. Most people don't. Which either indicates a severe lack of seriousness on their part or perhaps the feeling that they want to get on with their lives. The trade-off to most that they pay an extra $3 a month just so they can have an image of their (increasingly rare) checks seems like a reasonable deal after a while, right?
"The manner in which major banks relate the costs associated with their checking products to consumers is both ridiculous and completely unacceptable. They list different fees in different places on their websites, call them by different names, and don't even highlight the most important fees before you apply. Regulatory bodies and watchdog groups have spurred some improvement in this regard, making disclosures shorter and somewhat easier to understand, but there's obviously still work to be done," Papadimitriou wrote in his company's press release.
Here's their list (and the best scores are at the top -- they mean those banks give out more direct information about their fees).
Bank Overall Score Capital One 100% Fifth Third Bank 100% Citibank 96.7% Union Bank 95.0% Bank of America 91.7% TD Bank 91.7% JPMorgan Chase Bank 91.7% PNC Bank 90.0% RBS Citizens 90.0% Regions Bank 88.3% Branch Banking & Trust Company 88.3% U.S. Bank 88.3% SunTrust Bank 86.7% KeyBank 85.0% BMO Harris Bank 83.3% Wells Fargo Bank 83.3% Compass Bank 78.3% First Republic Bank 78.3% Bank of the West 70.0% Comerica Bank 66.7% Sovereign Bank 53.3% USAA Federal Savings Bank 53.3% HSBC Bank 50.0% The Huntington National Bank 45.0% M&T Bank 16.7%