Many checking accounts with built-in monthly fees give account holders the ability to avoid them by clearing specific hurdles, such as holding a minimum average balance in the account or signing up for direct deposit.
Even so, these hurdles are rapidly getting higher as banks attempt to increase fee revenue. The average minimum balance required to avoid a monthly fee rose from $249 in 2010 to $585 this year, an increase of nearly 135 percent.
"The big increases in balance requirements and fees aren't just from banks that already have those raising them, it's also from those that didn't use to have a balance requirement or a fee now instituting one," McBride says.
Tip: If you think your checking account has become too expensive, shop around for a better deal, McBride says. Competition is still stiff in the banking industry, and many different banks, credit unions and community banks may offer checking accounts that are much cheaper than your current account. Another alternative is an online bank.