How many bank accounts do you need?

Banking » How Many Bank Accounts Do You Need?

Will I pay more in fees with multiple accounts?
Will I pay more in fees with multiple accounts? © JohnKwan/

If there's one gripe we all have about our banks, it's the fees. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission cited bank fees as a top consumer complaint of the banking sector. But fees could also be the No. 1 reason why you might want to streamline the number of accounts you keep and number of financial institutions you do business with.

"Fees are wasted budget items and doing anything you can to limit and eliminate them altogether is very important," says McCloskey. "Any yield you might get by playing around with extra-high-yield accounts can be wiped out in a hurry by a single overdraft fee from most banks."

But don't assume that multiple accounts necessarily mean added fees.

"As long as they aren't incurring fees, there's no reason not to have more than one account," says Euretig, who adds that a lot of banks waive fees if you use direct deposit or maintain a minimum balance.

On the other hand, freelancers, the self-employed and the unemployed may find it difficult to manage their cash flow and keep minimum balances. If that's the case, Euretig says it's a good idea to go with as few accounts as possible.


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