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The Different Types of Minimum Balance Requirements
You may avoid the monthly fee for most accounts by maintaining a minimum balance.
Banks determine the balance requirements for their accounts in a few different ways. The following is a list of definitions of these requirements:
- 'Minimum Balance' -- At no time can the account balance drop below a certain amount. For example, say your account's 'minimum balance' is $300. If your balance goes under $300 -- even by a penny -- you will be charged the full monthly service fee for that statement period.
- 'Minimum Daily Balance' -- How most account balances are measured. Going under the required balance is accepted as long as your balance meets or exceeds the balance requirement by the end of each business day (around 5 pm). For example, let's say your minimum daily balance is $300 and you start the day with a balance of $500. If you make a purchase that day of $400, your balance does down to $100. But if you make a deposit of $200 or more before the end of the business day, bringing your balance up to at least $300, you will not be penalized with a service charge.
- 'Minimum Combined Balance' -- Measured just like an individual account's minimum balance, but includes all or many of your other accounts' balances. This requirement is usually a higher amount than the normal 'minimum balance,' but it might be more convenient for you if you want to have multiple accounts open with the bank.
- 'Average Monthly Balance' -- Your balance at the end of each day of the statement cycle is averaged. This way of measuring leaves you a bit more breathing room, allowing your balance fall below the minimum balance without automatic fees. But because the averaging ranges over an entire month, it's difficult to judge whether or not you'll incur the fee if your balance isn't normally above and beyond that minimum.
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