Are there particular bank account charges or fees I can avoid?

Of course there are fees to watch for, but completely avoiding them isn’t always possible. Do keep in mind that banks and other financial institutions are required to notify you about the fees for your accounts. It’s generally best to choose the one with the lowest fees, rather than the highest interest rate.

Some institutions charge monthly fees, individual check processing fees, and ATM fees. It helps to be aware of these, and plan your transactions accordingly. Some banks offer “free” checking accounts, if you maintain a certain balance. And while it may be convenient to have the banks order your check printing for you, many charge a much higher rate than you would find from an outside printer.

There is usually no net benefit to having a “passbook” savings account, because the monthly account fees are likely to outstrip any interest you might earn. Consider a money market account instead. With a money market account, you’ll earn interest, too, but also be able to write checks. Just be sure to beware of additional monthly charges if your balance drops below a designated amount.