According to Bankrate's own checking survey, the average interest bearing checking account charges a monthly service fee of over $14 and requires maintaining a balance of nearly $5,600 to avoid fees. Instead, look for an account that charges no monthly service fees or per-transaction fees, and doesn't require a minimum balance.
Forty-five percent of large banks and thrifts in markets around the country and 76 percent of the nation's largest credit unions still offer a noninterest, free-checking account.
Many banks and credit unions will waive the checking fees for customers with multiple accounts or even for something as simple as signing up for direct deposit. Check out Bankrate.com's story on how on avoiding fees and use Bankrate's search tool to find a free checking account that meets your needs.