Interactive Monday: How Much Will You Pay Over Your Lifetime In Banking Fees?

Dec 16, 2018
Interactive, Checking Accounts, Research

It's easy to lose track when you are getting nickeled and dimed every month with a non-network ATM fee here or a monthly maintenance fee there or even that dreaded overdraft fee. Have you ever pondered that depressing thought of what that might amount to over a lifetime? This interactive from NerdWallet does that very analysis, by calculating the bank expenses one would pay over a lifetime based on a certain set of assumptions about the cost of various fees and the number of occurrences. 

Here's the online form for students to complete ((toward the bottom of the page)

The form helps by giving you averages for many of the various fee types. Given that many students won't have extensive experience with bank accounts you may need to explain to them that they won't always have a FREE student account and that in order to avoid those pesky maintenance fees they will need to carry large balances. 

Here's some questions for them as they complete this form:

  • Jack is your typical bank customer
    • Pays a $12 fee monthly for 12 months (tip: if you carry large balances this fee is typically waived).
    • Pays no savings account fee
    • Overdraws account twice a year at $34 per overdraft
    • Takes money out of non-network ATM 5 times a year
    • Transfers money person-to-person 12 times a year

What is the Total Lifetime Banking Fees for John?

  • Felicia is a savvy bank customer
    • Keeps $5,000 in her account which enables her to pay an account maintenance fee of $12 only 2 months out of the year. 
    • Pays no savings account fee
    • Never overdraws her account
    • Takes money out of a non-network ATM about once a year for emergencies only
    • Transfers money person-to-person at no cost as she has found a peer-to-peer company that doesn't charge her. 

What is the Total Lifetime Banking Fees for Felicia? 

  • How much more is Jack paying in banking fees compared to Felicia? 
  • If you could give Jack only one piece of advice that would have the greatest impact on reducing his fees, what would you tell him? 
  • How much lower would another bank's fees be to convince you to switch? 


Like this interactive? We have more where this came from! Check out NGPF's Interactive Library. 


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.