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.


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.


I keep $50 - $100 in my checking accounts. $0.01 is ballsy.

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Only if you don’t keep track of the balance and scheduled transactions. I never have “surprise” charges on any of my accounts and could get away with $0 in checking. The only reason I don’t is because one or two of the bill payments are sent by check and the money is withdrawn when the check is cashed, which is out of my control. I can still be very precise and keep exactly $50 if the pending checks add up to $50, for example.

Sadly, Discover Bank doesn’t trust your math or scheduling abilities. I recently became aware of a website enhancement downgrade that I find insulting. You are no longer allowed to schedule a bill payment if there aren’t sufficient funds in your account at the time you schedule the payment.

I complained to their incredibly prompt and thorough customer service and got a very quick reply, even though it was on a weekend. That’s where I learned of the “enhancement”.

I refuse to keep that much money a no/lo interest checking account, so am now on the lookout for a new checking account, other than Chase, WF, or Ally. Suggestions appreciated.

Didn’t mean to semi-hijack the thread.

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I’m with you and I let them know how pissed off I am. I also sent a message and was slightly surprised that they had the explanation at the ready. The thing is I’m still using them as my hub and I usually keep enough in the Savings account. The trick is to transfer a sufficient amount* from Savings to Checking, schedule any future bill payments or transfers, then transfer back from Checking to Savings. This way I get what I need, I don’t lose interest, but I do lose 1 of 6 savings withdrawals that’s currently not enforced (and probably never will be). I even mentioned this workaround to them to demonstrate how stupid this new limitation is.

IMO there’s no better Checking+Savings combo. Chase and WF Savings suck and I don’t like Ally website, it’s slow and is full of external javascript references (which I disabled, but still).

*I have not yet determined if a sufficient amount must exceed only the largest bill pay transaction or the sum of all scheduled transactions if I schedule one-at-a-time. This only matters if there’s not enough in Savings to cover all scheduled payments.


Since they started this on May 11, I suspect they received enough complaints that they had a template prepared for when my complaint came in. I complained to them at 05:00 EDT on Saturday, and had a response within 75 minutes. It took me until today to respond, as I wanted a cooler head than when I read of their “enhancement.”

Yeah, but I don’t have all of my bills properly scheduled at one time. It never bothered me before now. Until I find something better, I will have to employ this workaround twice a month. :frowning:

I’m sorry to hear that, as I suspect you are at least as demanding as I.

I just tested. If you schedule two bills at the same time, the total is compared to your current balance. However, the amount of the bill payment is only compared to your current balance. They may try to correct that with their next downgrade.

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I thought it’s been that way for a while? I could swear I’ve ran into that exact issue long before last month.

No. It was like that at some point a few years ago, but then they turned it off. Now it’s back on since May 11.