“Many of these services are of dubious usefulness or diminishing marginal returns,” Wei says. They also typically don’t include better interest rates on the checking account themselves, although account olders do bypass additional fees.
“[The banks] don’t have anything to really give, so that’s their perk: You don’t pay a fee,” Matjanec says.
These fees are often ones that those who qualify for premium checking already pay infrequently, such as fees for specialty checks, overdraft protection, incoming wire transfers and stopped payments.
This is not to say the accounts are completely without merit.
“What you’re really getting out of it is discounts and freebies on other bank products,” Wei says. As such, it may make sense for someone who is looking to take out a mortgage, open up a CD or buy an investment product to open a premium account.
Otherwise, she says, “if you’re going to tie up $25,000 in a checking account, look for a conventional savings or high-yield checking account that offers better interest rates.” This is especially true since account holders who fail to maintain the $15,000 to $75,000 requirements associated with these accounts will have to pay a fee that ranges from $20 to $35.