A bank is charging me this kind of fee:

The fee is $0 if you have over a certain amount, or if you have $500 going in through a direct deposit each month. I don't meet these requirements, so I don't qualify for the $0 fee. (Paraphrased from clarifying comment)

Is this discrimination based on marital status? If so, is that legal?

  • What jurisdiction?
    – Dave D
    May 23, 2016 at 17:34
  • US jurisdiction, account services
    – person
    May 23, 2016 at 17:37
  • The fee is a service fee. When one spouse is having trouble finding work another spouse is more easily able to find a job.
    – person
    May 23, 2016 at 19:20
  • 1
    It is not true that direct deposit = job; many jobs don't pay by direct deposit, and many direct deposits are for things other than a job. It is not true that married implies job; there are many marrried couples where neither has a job (or at least an above-the-table one), and many unmarried couples or other joint holders who do have at least one. It is not true that married = account; plenty of married persons maintain separate bank accounts for a variety of reasons. This fee discriminates against (both asset and income) poor people, but not single ones. Jul 19, 2016 at 4:50

3 Answers 3


Discrimination based on simple marital status is federally prohibited when it comes to various forms of credit, though facts about a spouse can be used in determining eligibility for a loan. There isn't any federal regulation prohibiting differential fees based on marital status. Fees for checking and savings accounts may be regulated at the state level, so you'd have to specify a state.

  • normally when one spouse is having trouble finding work, another spouse can more easily find a job though.
    – person
    May 23, 2016 at 19:19
  • @acoder what does difficultly finding work have to do with bank fees?
    – phoog
    May 23, 2016 at 21:16
  • The bank has a service fee for being the victim of a criminal assault, and being unable to get job placement assistance because it happened in the workplace. I had to give up my career so I could feel safe.
    – person
    May 23, 2016 at 23:05
  • The fee is 0 if you have over a certain amount, or if you have 500 going in through a direct deposit each month due to life threatening injuries I have 0 going in.
    – person
    May 24, 2016 at 2:18
  • 2
    @phoog I suspect it is something like Chase's monthly service fee.
    – user3851
    May 24, 2016 at 19:10

Your bank is not discriminating against you.

Your reasons for not having the required amount of funds pass thru your account has nothing to do with your marital status.

In general, it's problematic to make a chain-of-cause-and-effect argument for discrimination.

For example. Your argument is analogous to the following.

My boss fired me for being late to work. But I was late to work because my child woke up late and missed the school bus; so I had to drive her to school. Therefore, my boss fired me for having children.

That type of chain-of-cause-and-effect argument for discrimination just doesn't hold water. It is non sequitur and a requires a leap of logic.


Are you referring to higher rates on a loan, or line of credit, if you are single?

If so, that may have more to do with financial stability - two earners are always a better bet for a loan provider than a single earner. So, a single person is a higher risk factor. That's not really "discrimination". The debt to income ratio used to factor rates will be different if you don't also have a spouse earning income. Therefor loan rates will be higher if you are single.

Then there's recovery if there is a default. If you are married and default on the loan/credit, the bank can go after you and your spouse. Which increases possible recovery rates. If it's just you, recovery would be more difficult, or impossible.

This is the same thing as having an excellent credit score or a poor credit score. You'll pay more if you have a low credit score because you are a higher risk. That's not discrimination.

In short, I would suspect the difference you are seeing, without detailed descriptions, are more about the risk factors lenders see between single and married individuals. It's not about marital status as much as it's about stability and defaulting.

  • It's worth noting that loan interest payments (and of course interest rates) aren't technically "fees," which may be part of the confusion surrounding this question.
    – phoog
    May 23, 2016 at 21:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .