These monthly checking account fees could ruin your budget

If you have less than $1,500 in your checking account, watch out.

You could be setting yourself up for some pesky fees.

In 2017, Americans spent about $3.5 billion on monthly maintenance fees for their checking accounts at the top five U.S. banks, according to new data from MyBankTracker, a website that aims to help consumers choose the best banks and financial products for them.

The top five U.S. banks — Bank of America, Chase, Citi, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo — typically require checking account owners to have at least $1,500 in their accounts in order to waive their monthly fee, according to MyBankTracker founder and CEO Jason Reposa. The average monthly fee for these accounts is $10.99 per month.

That’s bad news for consumers, almost 64 percent of whom had less than $1,000 in their checking accounts, according to the survey.

And the penalties consumers are paying did not stop at monthly maintenance fees.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents indicated they had at least one overdraft on their accounts.

“If you do the math on this, consumers are paying $130 per year in a monthly fee,” Reposa said. “Those fees are eating away the little bit of money consumers are putting aside.”

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