Americans have longer relationships with banks than their partners

They aren’t always clearly spelled out, but checking accounts charge up to 50 different fees. (The Canadian Press)

Commitment is hard. Even sticking to a gym, hairdresser or job is tough. But there’s one institution where Americans have no trouble at all saying “I do” and meaning it: their bank.

According to a study by personal finance site Bankrate, the average U.S. adult uses the same checking account for approximately 16 years. Over 26 per cent stuck to the same account for over 20 years.

The average length of a marriage in the U.S. is 3.6 years.

Not all American’s are equally loyal though. According to Bankrate, those aged 65 and older keep their checking accounts for an average of 26 years. Of the reasons given for why people stick with a particular bank, 34 per cent of respondents said satisfying customer service. The ones who favoured low or no monthly fees came up to only 12 per cent.

Fees seem less of a sticking point, reports Bankrate, with 37 per cent saying they spend between $1 and $50 a month on ATM, overdraft and routine fees. A steep $26.60 average per month is paid by 28 per cent of millennials.

The major drawback to not switching checking accounts, according to personal finance site WalletHub, is that fee structure that doesn’t line up with spending habits could cost as much as $750 per year. The less money you have, the more you’ll pay in checking account fees.

Most people don’t switch because they can’t be bothered. In the Bankrate survey, 14 per cent said it would be too much hassle to start withdrawing all the money and going elsewhere, along with changing all the automatic payments and direct debits set up on the account.

Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst, has said, “If you’re paying any kind of fee or having to strand a balance in an otherwise low-yielding account, then it’s time for you to look for better alternatives.”

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