Advertiser Disclosure

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card and banking offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies and banks from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. does not include all banks, credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, Chase, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.




Dig Deeper


Become a Money Crasher!
Join our community.

Say Goodbye To Free Checking Accounts



I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about how banks are about to increase fees on accounts that used to be free. Free checking may soon go the way of the dinosaur as banks are looking for a way to raise money after the passage of the CARD Act last year. Commercial banks are trying to raise money since the CARD Act is expected to reduce bank revenues by billions of dollars in lost overdraft fee income. In response, banks are coming up with new ways to take more of your savings.

Here are a few of the strategies that banks are considering adopting:

No More Free Checking
There was a time that banks were competing for your business by offering great perks like free checking. Well, not anymore! Many banks are completely eliminating free checking accounts. Customers will have to pay a service charge known as a monthly maintenance fee for the privilege of having a checking account. Monthly service fees are ranging from $9.95 to $15. This is a substantial hit to banking customers which could end up costing you as much as $180 a year.

Increased Minimum Balances
Banks are increasing the minimum amount that you need to keep in your account to avoid a service charge. Most banks had no minimum balance requirement to avoid a service charge. Banks are now considering imposing minimum required balances on all checking accounts. These amounts would range from $2,500 to $10,000 dollars. You better keep your balance high in the future if you want to avoid bank fees.

Increased Use Of Banking Services
Banks are giving customers a way to avoid service charges. The “wise” solution is to use more bank products. Here are a few ways that you can get around the increased service charges:

  • Use the ATM machine and online banking more frequently.
  • Use your bank credit cards more often.
  • Open a brokerage account at the bank.
  • Apply for loan products (home, auto, personal).

Most of these options will actually end up costing customers more money in the long run or plunge them deeper into debt. That’s not exactly the kind of help that you would expect from a financial institution.

Adding Fees To Products That Used To Be Free
Did your bank used to give you free checks with your checking account? How about monthly account statements, were those free as well? Banks will now impose check fees for anytime that you need to reorder checks. There are also $2 and $3 dollar paper statement mailing fees. Some banks are even charging fees if you go in the bank more than twice a month. It’s only a matter of times before banks start charging you to get a debit card.

If your bank is engaging in these nefarious practices, you should definitely take a look at the advantages of a credit union. Also, check out the option of joining an online bank like Capital One 360.

What is your take on these newly proposed bank fees? Do you think that banks are justified in charging these news fees? Why or why not?

Mark Riddix
Mark Riddix is the founder and president of an independent investment advisory firm that provides personalized investing and asset management consulting. Mark has written financial columns for Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area newspapers and is the author of the book, "Your Financial Playbook."

Next Up on
Money Crashers

Couple Holding Sports Tickets

13 Places to Buy Cheap Discount Sports Tickets Online & Off

More than 1 in 10 millennials have fallen victim to ticket counterfeiting, according to a study by anti-counterfeiting outfit Aventus. You probably know someone...
Find Good Doctor

How to Find a Good Doctor You Can Trust

According to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), cases of delayed, missed, or incorrect diagnoses are common -...

Latest on
Money Crashers

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

See why 218,388 people subscribe to our newsletter.

What Do You Want To Do
With Your Money?