Not all checking accounts are equally fee-laden. To help consumers determine which banks might charge the most on their trip, NerdWallet compiled data on 4 different factors for personal checking accounts at 20 of the largest U.S. banks. These factors include:
- Fees: NerdWallet analyzed out of network ATM fees, international ATM fees, and foreign transaction fees at each bank.
- Access: NerdWallet analyzed the number of branches that each bank operates in the top 10 U.S. states by domestic travel expenditures (CA, FL, TX, NY, IL, NV, PA, VA, GA, NJ).
Which banks have the highest fees for summer travelers?
While these banks are not necessarily poor options in general, some of their fees and branch availability may make it difficult for travelers to avoid extra costs.
1. M&T Bank Corporation (NYSE:MTB) As a Buffalo, NY headquartered bank, M&T Bank Corporation (NYSE:MTB) primarily serves customers across New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and other east coast states. The bank’s out-of-network ATM fee is the highest NerdWallet measured, at $3.00 (which rises to $5.00 for international ATMs). M&T Bank Corporation (NYSE:MTB) also charges a 3% foreign exchange fee. Finally, vacationers might find it difficult to find a branch at their destination, since there are a total of just 514 branches across the most traveled states. M&T Bank Corporation (NYSE:MTB) does offer a checking account “add-on” that waives out of network ATM fees, but it will cost you an extra $4.95 per month.
2. Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF) Bank Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF) is headquartered in Birmingham, AL and operates branches throughout the southeastern United States. The bank’s out-of-network ATM fee is above average for both domestic ($2.50) and international ($5.00) withdrawals. Like many of the other banks studied, they also levy a 3% foreign exchange fee on international travelers. Finally, with just 670 branches across top U.S. destinations, a Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF) Bank location could be difficult to track down while on the road.
3. Citizens Bank (Edinburg, IL) (OTCMKTS:CZBA)
Citizens Bank (Edinburg, IL) (OTCMKTS:CZBA), owned by British bank the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (ADR) (NYSE:RBS), is headquartered in Providence, RI and operates throughout most northeastern states as well as the Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland metro areas. Like M&T Bank Corporation (NYSE:MTB), Citizens Bank (Edinburg, IL) (OTCMKTS:CZBA) charges the most among the banks we measured for domestic out-of-network withdrawals ($3.00), but does not increase that fee for international withdrawals. They also charge the nearly ubiquitous 3% foreign transaction fee for transactions in a foreign currency. Finally, the bank had one of the lowest numbers of branches available in popular travel destination states, with just 230.
4. BB&T Corporation (NYSE:BBT) BB&T Corporation (NYSE:BBT) serves customers in many parts of the southeastern United States and is headquartered in Winston-Salem, NC. Their $2.50 fee for using another bank’s ATM rises to $5.00 when outside the country, in which case travelers also face a 3% foreign exchange fee. Though BB&T Corporation (NYSE:BBT)‘s branch network is slightly stronger in popular travel destinations (Florida, for example), their 930 locations still places below average among the 20 banks measured.