For years, banks have been rewarding their customers with free checking for their accounts. However, as a result of new regulations on the financial industry, many banks have been implementing fees for once-free services. Often, these fees can be avoided by reading the fine print, but it will be more important than ever for customers to stay on top of their bank’s rules and regulations.For example, Chase Total Checking is implementing a minimum cost for checking accounts of 12 a month if the customer does not maintain either a minimum balance of 1,500 in their checking account, 5,000 across all deposit accounts, or make a minimum of 500 in monthly deposits.Other banks are implementing similar regulations. Bank of America is testing a new system that would charge customers based on their amount of money and the number of accounts the customer has openfees would range from 6 to 25 a month. Citigroup is instituting fees for basic accounts of 8 if customers do not conduct transactions at least five times a month. Finally, Wells Fargo will be charging new customers 5 a month for checking and 6.96 for online bill payments.Along with checking fees, banks are also instituting new ATM fees which could hit customers who regularly use machines from outside their banking chain. To avoid these new charges, customers should be sure that they understand the changes that are being made and determine whether the account will continue to work for them. If a bank waives fees based on how many times you use your debit card but you prefer checking, you will either need to change your spending habits or consider another bank. The research may be rough, but the results will be worth it.
January 22, 2011