Minimum balance to keep in a bank account to keep the bank happy?

I have a few accounts that are great with ACH transfers, high limits and fast transfers, but I only keep a penny balance to keep the account open because they have low interest rates, and only use them it as an intermediary when I want to transfer funds between other banks that have great rates but low transfer limits. I can imagine they find it annoying when they see $20,000, 50,000, or more, come in one day, and go right back out the next. Is there some balance I should keep, $500, $1000 or more to keep them happy, or is this just in my head and they don’t really care?


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The only thing you could do is maintain a seasoned balance large enough to cover the outgoing transfer, so there is no risk should the incoming transfer end up being reversed. But that requires a lot of capital, and isnt all that practical. So then, no, there really isnt any token balance you could keep that will make a lick of a difference.

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I’m not taking about any funny business like that. I don’t initiate a transfer out until I see the funds are available. I’m saying, if the bank sees I have just a 0.01 balance most of the time and then once or twice a month I may have $50K for two days until it clears and then I transfer it back out. They might think I’m only using this account to move money between other banks. But if I do that while still keeping $500 or $1000 in there all the time, it wouldn’t look like I was taking advantage of them, if that makes any sense.

That is exactly the “funny business” you are talking about. The bank may make the funds available, but there’s still a risk of the deposit being reversed even a week or two later.

The point was, unless you are going to maintain a large seasoned balance to [essentially] guarantee the funds you are transferring out, it isnt going to matter what nominal effort you put into trying to keep them happy. Keep whatever is needed to waive the monthly fee (if anything), then dont worry about it.

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No, these are MY personal accounts. Not checks from some Nigerian buying my car and who wants me to send $1000 to his shipper. I know the deposit is good.

You know. The bank does not.

There is always a potential risk to the bank. And the answer to your question is that unless you are willing to mitigate that risk to the bank (from the bank’s perspective), it doesnt matter what you do. A $500 balance will not make a bit of difference in how they feel about a $50,000 transfer.


Maybe I wasn’t clear in saying this was an ACH transfer, not a check deposit. Banks know in a day or two tops, if the funds are good. Almost as fast as a wire.

No, you were very clear.

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Haven’t you ever had an ACH reversed? I’ve had it happen over a week after the initial transfer.

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No I haven’t. Why was it reversed? Have you ever had a wire reversed?

They sent the incorrect amount.


Banks have a lot of accounts like this. Typically business checking accounts.
As a personal savings account, this type of activity profile is indeed unusual and your account could very well be flagged for manual review by the anti money laundering department.