Typical Minimum Balance for Traditional Savings Accounts

Minimum Balances and Associated Fees

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When you open a traditional savings account, you may need to keep a certain amount of money in the account to avoid a monthly service fee. In most cases, the minimum balance ranges from $300 to $500 while the fees typically are around $5.

Learn more about how minimum account balance requirements work, why banks have them, and what you can expect from major U.S. banks when opening a traditional savings account.

Key Takeaways

  • A minimum account balance for a traditional savings account is the smallest amount of money you need in your account to avoid fees.
  • Typical minimum account balance requirements for traditional savings accounts range from $300 to $500, although amounts vary and some banks have no minimum requirements.
  • The minimum balance amount may be a minimum daily balance or a minimum monthly average.

How Minimum Account Balances Work

A minimum account balance is the smallest amount of money a financial institution requires you to keep in a specific account. Today, many banks require a minimum deposit when opening a savings account.

Banks then impose a monthly service fee that can be waived if you maintain a minimum account balance. For example, Wells Fargo's Way2Save savings account requires a $25 deposit to open the account and comes with a $5 monthly service fee. However, that fee is waived if you keep a $300 minimum daily balance in the account, or fulfill one of its other requirements.

Traditional Bank Basic Savings Accounts

Here’s a closer look at minimum account balance requirements and fees for traditional savings accounts at major U.S. banks.

Bank Minimum Opening Deposit Ongoing Minimum Balance Requirement Fee for Not Meeting Requirement (per month) Other Ways To Waive Fees
Wells Fargo (Way2Save Savings) $25 $300 (minimum daily balance) $5 Automatic transfer of at least $25 or $1 per business day from a linked WF checking account, primary account holder under 24 years old, or a Save As You Go transfer from a WF checking account.
Chase (Chase Savings) $0 $300 (minimum daily balance) $5 Account owner under 18, automatic transfers of at least $25 from a Chase checking account, linked Chase College Checking account for Overdraft Protection, or another qualifying Chase account that is linked.
Bank of America (Advantage Savings) $100 $500 (minimum daily balance) $8 Link the savings account to a Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking account, become a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client, or be under the age of 24 and enrolled in school.
Citi (Basic or Access Savings Account) $0 $500 (average monthly balance) $4.50 N/A
U.S. Bank (Standard Savings Account) $25 $300 (minimum daily ledger balance) or $1,000 (average monthly collected balance) $4 Under the age of 18.
Citizens Bank (One Deposit Savings) Any amount $0 $4.99 Under 25 or over 65 years old, or one deposit of any amount per month.
Fifth Third Bank (Traditional Savings Account) $0 $500 (average monthly balance) $5 Have a Fifth Third checking account, be under the age of 18, or enroll in Military banking with Fifth Third.
PNC (Standard Savings) $25 $300 (average monthly balance) $5 Linked PNC checking account, under 18 years old, or auto savings transfer of at least $25 each month.
SunTrust (Essential Savings Account) $0 $0.01 $0 N/A
TD Bank (TD Simple Savings) $0 $300 (daily minimum balance) $5 Under 18 or over 62 years old.

When looking at traditional savings accounts from the major U.S. banks, the minimum account balance requirement ranges from $0 up to $500. However, if your balance falls under the required amount, the consequence is typically a monthly service fee that averages about $5.

That said, there are often other ways to avoid the service fee such as by having a linked checking account with the same bank, making small automatic transfers each month, and being a minor, young adult, or senior citizen.

Traditional Banks’ Higher-Interest Savings Accounts

Now, let’s look at the requirements and fees from the traditional banks’ savings accounts that offer a higher yield than their standard savings account offering.

Bank Minimum Opening Deposit Ongoing Minimum Balance Requirement Fee for Not Meeting Requirement (per month) Other Fee Waivers
Wells Fargo (Platinum Savings) $25 $3,500 (minimum daily balance) $12 N/A
Chase (Chase Premier Savings) $0 $15,000 (minimum daily balance) $25 A linked Chase Premier Plus Checking or Chase Sapphire Checking account.
Citi (Priority Package) $0 $50,000 (average monthly balance in eligible linked deposit, retirement, and investment accounts) $30 N/A
Citizens Bank (Citizens Quest Savings) Any Amount $0 $0.00 with Citizens Quest Checking N/A
TD Bank (TD Beyond Savings) $0 $20,000 (minimum daily balance) $15 N/A

To get a higher annual percentage yield (APY) with a traditional bank, you’re often going to face much higher balance requirements.

Similar to the practice with traditional savings accounts, if you don’t meet the requirement, you’ll typically have to pay a monthly service fee. However, with these higher yield accounts, the fee is also generally a bit higher, averaging about $16 per month. Keep in mind if you are charged these fees, they can quickly negate your interest earnings.

Online-Only High-Yield Accounts

Lastly, for comparison, let’s look at how the fees and requirements vary for online savings accounts. When it comes to online savings accounts, you’ll typically find more attractive rates and terms because many of these financial institutions do not have to pay for the same overhead costs traditional banks do.

Bank Minimum Opening Deposit Ongoing Minimum Balance Requirement Fee for Not Meeting Requirement (per month) Other Fee Waivers
Smarty Pig by Sallie Mae $0 $0 $0 N/A
Affirm $0 $0 $0 N/A
Ivy Bank $2,500 $2,500 for 0.61% APY 0.05% APY N/A
Axos Bank $250 $0 $0 N/A
Alliant $5 $100 average daily balance N/A $1 paper fee waived with electronic statements

As you can see, many banks don’t require a minimum deposit to open an online account, don’t charge monthly service fees, and don’t require you to keep a specific amount in the account.

How To Avoid Minimum Balances

You can avoid minimum balances by shopping around for a savings account. Several banks don’t require you to keep a minimum balance, particularly those that offer online savings accounts. Some traditional savings accounts may even have no minimum balance requirements, such as with Citizens Bank’s savings accounts.

You’re most likely to run into minimum balance requirements on traditional banks’ higher yield savings accounts that are not exclusively offered online.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much money should I keep in my savings account?

The general recommendation is to keep at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses in your savings account to prepare for an emergency. Further, if your bank requires a minimum amount to avoid fees, maintaining at least the minimum can help you get the most from the account. As for the maximum, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures up to $250,000 per account.

Why do banks impose minimum balances on savings accounts?

Banks impose minimum balances and service fees on savings accounts as a way to cover the costs of paying out interest and to help them meet their regulatory capital requirements. If you don’t make deposits that help them generate more revenue, the resulting fee will help to cover their costs.

Article Sources

  1. Wells Fargo. "Savings Accounts and CDs (Time Accounts)." Accessed Oct. 5, 2021.

  2. Citizens Bank. "Savings Accounts." Accessed Oct. 5, 2021.

  3. FDIC. "Deposit Insurance FAQs." Accessed Oct. 5, 2021.