It’s nearly impossible to live your life these days without having a checking and savings account. Unless you deal strictly in cash, you need a bank account in order to get paid for your work, to pay your bills, and to make everyday purchases! Thankfully, you have a lot of options when it comes to bank accounts.
Bank accounts aren’t free, however. In fact, many bank accounts require you to have a minimum account balance if you want to avoid excessive fees or having your account closed. What’s the average minimum account balance, and how can you make sure you have that amount in your account?
Read on to find out!
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Not all bank accounts are created the same. Some accounts feature a lot of benefits and bonuses, like interest-bearing checking accounts that offer cash-back rewards for purchases. Others are fairly simple accounts in which you can store your money and receive your paychecks.
Bank accounts aren’t all features, however, they also have requirements. One of the most common requirements you’ll find is a minimum account balance. This means that you must have a certain amount of money in your account at all times in order to avoid penalties.
In general, accounts that offer more features tend to have minimum account balance requirements. For example, https://www.farmersbankidaho.com/ has a number of different checking account options, but their interest-bearing Traditions account has a $200 minimum balance requirement. Their simple eChecking account doesn’t have the minimum account balance requirement.
Different banks have different methods for calculating your minimum account balance. The three main ways to calculate whether you’re meeting your minimum account balance are minimum daily balance, average minimum balance, and minimum combined balance.
The minimum daily balance calculation is based on the amount of money in your bank account at the end of the day. It’s fairly straightforward to understand because, as long as you have the minimum amount of money in your bank account at the end of the day, then you’ll be able to avoid paying the monthly fee.
Notice that your account fell below the minimum account balance requirement in the middle of the day? Make a same-day deposit, and as long as your account is back above the dollar requirement by close of business, you’re square.
The average minimum balance method calculation is a little bit more tricky. Banks using this calculation method take your end-of-day balance from each day of the month and combine them. That number is divided by the number of days in the statement cycle.
If your average minimum balance is above the requirement, then you won’t have to worry about paying a fee. If it dips below, then you will have to pay the fee.
In some ways, the average minimum account balance is slightly more forgiving than the daily balance calculation. If your account dips below the minimum requirement for a couple of days, all you need to do is add additional money to your account to make up for it at the end of the statement cycle.
The minimum combined balance method is applied at certain banking institutions where customers have multiple accounts with them. For example, if you have a checking account, a savings account, and a CD, then the total amount of money in all three accounts combined is used to determine whether you’ve met the minimum account balance.
Unless you bring home a hefty paycheck each month, maintaining your minimum account balance in your checking or savings account can feel like an impossibility. The good news is that there are some steps you can take to ensure that the money is always there. The following options are a great way to get control of your money.
Many people relegate a specific percentage of their income to their savings account. For example, if you bring home $3,000 a month, and you want to set aside 10%, then you would put $300 a month in savings.
You could even make it a rule of thumb that you put a percentage of all incoming money into savings. Get a healthy income tax refund? Put 10 percent in savings.
You can pull from that account when your daily balance gets low, or, if your bank combines accounts, it can be used to help you meet your balance without ever touching the money.
If setting aside a percentage of your income doesn’t seem feasible, then you can also choose to put aside a certain dollar amount each month. Maybe you put $100 a month in your savings, and aim to add more if you can. If things are tight, you don’t have to go broke putting money in savings, but something is always better than nothing!
Credit cards are great to have for emergencies, but you shouldn’t be using them all of the time. If you feel like you’re putting most of your income toward credit card payments, then it’s time to take control of your debt so you’ll have more money to put into savings.
Two common methods of paying off credit cards include debt avalanche and debt snowball. Find a method that feels comfortable to you.
Struggling with impulse buys? They could be keeping you from meeting your financial goals.
If you’re feeling the need to buy a snazzy new pair of shoes, take some time to think it over before pulling the trigger. A little cooling-off period between the initial impulse helps you make better financial decisions.
The best way to counter any bank’s average minimum account balance requirement is to be mindful of your spending. As tempting as it is to throw caution to the wind and wing it, having a set budget that you stick to and a healthy savings account will give you tremendous peace of mind. Happy saving!
Do you want to learn more great ways to manage your finances? We can help you out with that! Scroll through our blog for tons of great tips and tricks!