Checks all work the same way, but not all checking accounts are created equal.
Fees and charges can vary dramatically from bank to bank and region to region, making it important for savers and bill-payers to compare closely what costs they may face.
WalletHub recently released a report comparing costs for checking accounts at 25 major banks nationwide and came up with a ranking of the most and least expensive places to do business.
Here's WalletHub's list of the five most and least affordable.
Posted 2 Sept. 2014
The military-focused banking and insurance company routinely comes in at the top of customer-satisfaction surveys, and was top-three in the WalletHub survey in four of five fee categories.
WalletHub found this bank was best for both cash-strapped customers (who don't use direct deposit and sometimes overdraft) and "old school" checking account users, who write lots of checks but don't bank online as much.
The West Coast bank, a unit of Mitsubishi UFJ, was top-10 in all five of the survey's categories. It rated best among "old school" customers as well.
The Spanish bank, whose brand is relatively new to the United States, ranked highest for young and high-tech customers, who do most of their business online.
Citibank was by far the strongest among customers who travel and bank internationally, which WalletHub rated as a separate niche.
RBS Citizens—the U.S. unit of the once-troubled British bank—also rated highly for international customers but did poorly for fees in other categories.
SunTrust managed a top-10 rating among young and high-tech customers but was near the bottom in most other fee categories.
Comerica was in the top 5 for the so-called Everyday Joe customer, who does not have particularly unique banking needs. For the rest, though, its fees rated poorly.
Fifth Third managed a top-10 rating for cash-strapped bank customers but was at or near the bottom in every other category on WalletHub's list.
M&T did not manage to rank any higher than 19th in any of the five categories, and was dead last for cash-strapped customers.