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What is a Maintenance Fee?

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  • Written By: Casey Kennedy
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 23 August 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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A maintenance fee is a periodic charge or renewal fee assessed to certain types of accounts to cover the cost of servicing the accounts. Credit card, checking and savings accounts are just a few of the types of accounts that may have a maintenance fee associated with them. Other types of businesses, such as companies that deal in timeshare rentals, may also charge a maintenance fee to help with the upkeep of the property associated with the timeshare.

Account holders may pay for maintenance fees on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. The amount of the fee is generally a set number and considered part of the service terms that the account holder agreed to when he first opened the account. In some instances, however, a maintenance fee occurs only if the account holder fails to specifically do or not do something. As an example, the account holder may fail to keep a certain amount in his checking account or write more checks in a month than is allowed by the bank‘s service agreement.

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To save money on these types of maintenance fees, consumers should research their options before they open an account and make sure they understand when or how a maintenance fee is applied. Since many banks now offer incentives that do away with maintenance fees, the savvy consumer can often find a bank that offers no maintenance fees when certain requirements are met in addition to other incentives, such as free checking or debit card usage without transaction fees as well. Opening an account with a specific balance, opting for paperless statements and linking a checking account to a saving account are just a few of the ways an account holder can save the money that he would normally pay in maintenance fees or other types of bank charges.

Unlike banking and brokerage fees, which are generally small dollar amounts that most consumers can tolerate when no other option is available, the higher maintenance fees associated with timeshares are typically the primary reason that many timeshare owners decide to sell. Generally paid once a year, annual maintenance fees for timeshares typically start out as a set amount, but over time, these fees tend to rise, and owners become frustrated that the fees are still going up even though they no longer owe money on the timeshare itself. In these instances, the timeshare owner may discover that her only real option to avoid these fees is to sell.

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