How bank paper statement fees work, and ways to avoid them

  • Many banks charge you a few dollars per month for mailing paper bank statements to your home.
  • You can avoid paper statement fees by opting for paperless statements online.
  • If you don’t like banking online, paper statements could be worth the cost.
  • See Insider’s picks for the best checking accounts »

What are paper statement fees?

A bank statement is a document that shows your account activity, including deposits and withdrawals. One statement shows the activity over a “statement period,” which is typically one month.

The one-month period isn’t always from the first to last day of a month. The exact dates depend on the bank, but it could be from the ninth of a month to the eigth of the following month, for example.

These days, most banks provide online statements for free. You can find these when you log into your bank account online or via the mobile app.

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But a bank will probably charge you when it mails a physical copy of your bank statement to your home — this is a paper statement fee.

Some banks automatically send you paper statements; others require you to enroll. When you open an account, ask an employee or check the website for information about whether you need to opt in or out of paper statements.

Fees at the top banks

Here are the paper statement fees at banks with the most branches around the US, as well as at some popular online banks:

BankPaper statement fee
Ally$0
Axos$5
Bank of America$5
BB&T$3
Capital One$5
Chase$6
Discover$0
Fifth Third Bank$5
PNC Bank$2
Regions$5
SunTrust$3
TD Bank$1
US Bank$2
Wells Fargo$5

How to avoid paper statement fees

Although most banks charge you for paper statements, not all do. If you’re set on receiving statements in the mail, you can bank with an institution that won’t impose a fee, such as Ally or Discover.

Otherwise, you can enroll in e-statements to avoid fees.

With e-statements, otherwise known as paperless statements, you see your transaction history on the bank’s website or mobile app. There should be a menu option specifically for statements, and you’re able to sort by month.

Depending on the bank, you may automatically be enrolled in e-statements but not paper statements, or vice-versa. Speak with a customer service agent to make sure you aren’t paying for paper statements if you don’t want to receive them.

Pros and cons of paper statements

Pros

  • Easier to track transactions. Yes, you can see deposits and withdrawals with e-statements. But receiving a document in the mail is a good reminder to check your statement for any errors, or to review your spending if you’re trying to budget.
  • Access to older statements. Most banks keep your statements on file for five years, if not longer. But if you hold onto all your paper statements, you can look back on them years later if necessary. Granted, you can also download e-statements to view them later — it just may be easy to forget.

Cons

  • Fees. Most banks charge you a few dollars per month for paper statements.
  • The environment. Receiving paper statements isn’t great for the environment, especially if you already have access to statements online.
  • Missing out on perks. Some banks offer benefits when you opt for e-statements over paper statements. For example, a bank may waive your monthly fee or pay a cash sign-up bonus.
  • Possibility of identity theft. Do you throw away your paper bank statements? If you don’t shred the document first, someone could go through your trash to access your bank information and steal your identity.

Paper statements can be useful for tracking your transactions more closely. But if you don’t want to pay a monthly fee, you may want to enroll in e-statements instead.

Laura Grace Tarpley is an editor at Personal Finance Insider, covering mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. She is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF). Over her four years of covering personal finance, she has written extensively about ways to save, invest, and navigate loans.

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