Checking accounts can be both expensive and complex: up to $800 a year across 49 different fees if you choose the wrong account for your needs.
Those are the findings of Checking Account Cost & Transparency Studies released today by WalletHub.com.
The personal-finance website compared checking accounts from 35 of the largest banks and credit unions in order to determine how costs vary across institutions and types of users.
Report’s chief findings:
* The less money you have, the more a checking account will cost you. The average cash-strapped consumer incurs roughly $470 in fees each year.
* All consumers can save on everyday banking by gravitating to checking accounts from credit unions and online-only banks.
* The average checking account has approximately 25 total fees. Surprisingly, traditional banks offer the most transparency regarding key account terms, while online-only accounts provide less visibility than their branch-based brethren.
* Santander extra20 Checking is the best overall checking account on the market right now, topping three out of the five consumer profile scenarios WalletHub considered. This account offers a $20 reward each month for making a direct deposit in excess of $1,500 and two online bill payments. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to open a savings account as well.
The complete 2015 Checking Account Cost Report, including account recommendations for numerous types of consumers, can be found at http://tinyurl.com/n9cl5xb
For the full 2015 Checking Account Transparency Report, visit http://tinyurl.com/q7sfqud.