How large a balance is needed to avoid fees?
To make it easier for consumers to comparison shop, the Pew Center developed a simple disclosure form that five of the largest banks and three of the largest credit unions have adopted, Weinstock says. Consumers need to know the minimum deposit required to open an account and the minimum balance required to waive monthly bank fees.
"Be aware not only of the upfront price of opening an account but of continuing requirements," Freedman says. "Some accounts require a direct deposit or a recurring payment through their site to avoid monthly service fees."
In addition to the monthly service fees, you should check on other fees that you can be charged before you switch banks, such as a stop-payment fee, deposited item return fee, account closing fee and nonsufficient funds fee.