MoneyWisdom Blog

Free Checking Account - Is it really free?

Posted by Bill Burpeau on Mar 23, 2012 4:26:00 PM

free checking accountWhen fees are hidden behind fancy titles or taken in the form of minimum requirements and lessened service, a "free" checking account isn't really free at all.

The title of a Wall Street Journal article of March 1st says it all, "Big Bank Weighs Fee Revamp".

The article goes on to say, "Bank of America pilot programs in Arizona, Georgia, and Massachusetts now are experimenting with charging $6 to $9 a month for an "Essentials" account.  Other account options being tested in those states carry monthly charges of $9, $12, $15, and $25 but give customers opportunities to avoid the payments by maintaining minimum balances, using a credit card or taking a mortgage with Bank of America, according to a memo."

Free checking doesn't mean you'll escape fees. You can still get charged for nonsufficient funds, balance inquiries, and stop payments. Protect yourself by asking for a schedule of fees and compare.

You can still be tempted by the word "free" but watch out for hidden fees, a lack of surcharge free ATMs, higher fees for bouncing a check, and account requirements that can cost you money. 



Topics: Personal Finance

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