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9 Common US Bank Fees You Must be Aware of
Your US bank may be charging you several fees that you may not even be aware of.
As an incoming international student, it’s important that you set up your US bank account and get a US-based debit/credit card as soon as you arrive on your student visa. Click here to learn more about opening a bank account in the US as an international student.
However, you must consider and compare the different types of fees that banks charge while evaluating the US banking options that are international student-friendly. Bank fees can quickly add up and you should be aware of the different types of fees that your bank may be charging you.
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Here are some of the most common types of fees that banks charge:
Ranges between $10 - $30 at opening
Banks may charge you an initial fee to simply open an account with them. Some banks mask this as a ‘minimum deposit’ required to open your account, which may not seem like an outright expense, yet comes at a cost to your wallet.
Minimum Balance Fees
Ranges between $5 - $25 every time your balance drops
Some banks will charge you a fee every time your account balance drops below a certain value. This can be extremely stressful since you need to constantly ensure that your balance does not drop below the minimum balance amount specified by your bank.
Account Maintenance Fees
Ranges between $4 - $25 per month
This is the fee that banks charge you for using and maintaining an account with them. Most international student-friendly banks waive this fee for students up to the age of 23-25, but incoming graduate international students end up paying these hefty fees.
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Ranges between $25 - $40 per overdraft
If you’ve opted for overdraft coverage, your bank will allow your transactions to go through even if your account does not have sufficient funds, and it will charge you an overdraft fee to make the purchase. You must set up low-balance alerts for your bank account since overdraft fees can add up very quickly.
Insufficient Funds Fees
Ranges between $25 - $35 every time your transact beyond your existing account balance
If you have not opted for overdraft coverage, and try to purchase something that may cost more than the amount of funds you have in your bank account, your bank may decline the charge or return the charge as unpaid, and then charge you a fee for transacting beyond your means. You must set up low-balance alerts for your bank account since insufficient funds fees can be very expensive.
Ranges between $4 - $9 per transaction
If you use an ATM that is not affiliated with your bank account, you will most likely be charged an ATM transaction fee by both the ATM bank provider as well as your own bank. It’s important to open a bank account with various ATM locations close to your dorm room / student accommodation.
Excess Transaction Fees
Ranges between $4 - $30 per excess withdrawal
Banks usually set a cap on the number of withdrawals you can make per month. Exceeding this limit will levy an excess transaction fee that gets charged to your account. If you’re using a savings account, you might want to consider switching your everyday expenses and bill pay to your checking account.
Wire Transaction Fees
Ranges between $20 - $50 per transaction
Banks will charge you fees for sending money to someone else’s US bank account (via a domestic wire transfer) or when you transfer money to someone abroad via an international wire transfer. You can try online banking or other methods of domestic transfers to avoid paying domestic wire fees and use reputable remittance apps to transfer money internationally.
Account Closing Fees
Ranges between $10 - $30 upon closing
If you close your bank account before the minimum time period specified to you while opening your bank account, your bank will charge you a fee for an early closure of your account. Meet the minimum balance requirement till the stipulated time period to avoid paying such fees.
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