By Chad Morris


5 Min. To Read

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If you’re in the market for a new checking account, KeyBank has several to choose from. The financial institution offers several packages with different pricing schedules.

KeyBank’s basic checking account is Key Express. There is no required on-going minimum balance, although the account does require $50 to open. KeyBank charges a $7 monthly fee for the account. This charge can be avoided by making eight transactions or depositing at least $500. The first month the account is open, the fee is automatically waived.

Despite being a basic-level checking account, Key Express comes with a debit Mastercard, which carries no transaction fees or monthly charges for use. This entry-level account also offers unlimited check writing.

While these features seem very attractive, the Key Express account does not earn any interest. Moreover, the entry-level checking account carries a $2.50 charge for using non-KeyBank ATM’s inside the U.S. and $5 outside. There is also a disappointing $3 charge for paper statements.

If you want your funds to earn interest, check out Key Advantage. This is one of the bank’s interest-bearing accounts. The APY tends to be very low across all balance levels, but at least it generates more income than Key Express.

In return for an interest rate, Key Advantage charges a higher monthly fee—it’s $18. There are several ways to avoid the charge, however. If you set up automatic payments for a KeyBank mortgage from a Key Advantage account, the monthly charge is waived. You can also maintain $10,000 in assets in KeyBank accounts, investment accounts included. A final method is to have $1,000 directly deposited to a Key Advantage account through a payroll program.

Key Advantage members receive 50% off all check reorders, something that Key Express doesn’t offer. Key Advantage does carry the same $50 opening deposit requirement that Key Express comes with.

KeyBank’s high octane checking account is the Key Privilege account. It pays a higher rate of interest than Key Advantage, but it charges a very steep $50 monthly fee. It is not charged during the first three months of account ownership. It can be avoided after this point by keeping at least $100,000 on deposit in the Key family of financial companies, or directly depositing $5,000 each statement cycle through the bank’s Key@Work program.

Several charges the other accounts assess are eliminated with the Key Privilege account. Given the costly monthly fee, that’s certainly a good thing. There are no fees for using non-KeyBank cash machines or requesting check images.

Rounding out our survey is KeyBank’s student checking account. It has the lowest monthly fee, just $5, and it’s waived the first month. In return, however, the account doesn’t earn interest. The low monthly charge can be eliminated by making five or more transactions or depositing at least $200 during the statement cycle.

One feature we liked with this account is a reimbursement policy on non-KeyBank ATM’s. Up to $6 per month in cash machine surcharges assessed by KeyBank will be refunded when using non-KeyBank machines. Another helpful policy is that there is no minimum balance requirement. As with the other accounts, this one comes with checks and the debit Mastercard. There is a $50 minimum opening deposit requirement, which may be too steep for some students.

It seems strange that this would be the account marketed to students. KeyBank’s Hassle-Free checking account has no monthly fee and only requires $10 to open. It doesn’t come with checks, but students today can probably figure out how to live without paper. There are also no overdraft fees with the Hassle-Free account. It of course pays no interest and, oddly, doesn’t charge for paper statements.

Any KeyBank checking account comes with a disappointing $25 fee if you close it within six months. Although this isn’t the best policy in the banking world, KeyBank does offer a variety of services that are free with any of its deposit accounts. These include bill pay, a handy mobile app, and overdraft protection.

If you’re in the market for a new checking account, KeyBank has several to choose from. The financial institution offers several packages with different pricing schedules.

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