Got a solution for the end of free checking?

What’s your banking strategy as free checking becomes extinct?

The days when you could walk into a bank branch and open an account with no charges or strings attached appear to be over, Associated Press is reporting. Now you have to jump through hoops — keep a high balance, use direct deposit or swipe your debit card several times a month.

One new account at Bank of America charges $8.95 per month if you want to bank with a teller or get a paper statement, AP writes.

Are you switching banks to try to avoid fees?

Are credit unions a better option? Your mattress?

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62 comments Add your comment

santoka

October 20th, 2010
6:49 am

yes, everyone will now start to see that the government protection from ourselves will be expensive for everyone. Credit Union will likely be your only choice (with 3 ATM’s in Metro Atlanta)….

'nuff said

October 20th, 2010
7:07 am

I’ve noticed recently that the banks have re titled my account types. They don’t think that my free account will suddenly become pay-as-you-go and I’ll stand for it, do they?

Ellen

October 20th, 2010
7:36 am

The solution? Try credit unions.

J. W.

October 20th, 2010
7:41 am

I agree witht the previous posters. I switched to credit unions years ago and love it. Locally, I am a member of Delta Community and LGE. If you switch to a large credit union, such as Delta Community, they will have all the services one might be familiar with from a large bank. My checking accounts pay interest, there are no fees, and no catches. They do business the way it should be done. Community Banks can be good too, but honestly, I need nationwide service, which credit union can do with each other. Community banks are limited in that respect.

Money Talks

October 20th, 2010
7:51 am

Community banks & credit unions will follow suit soon – just watch and see! They are out to snag you now after you huff & puff away from the big banks. But in the end they’ll all be out to make money off of you, the free ride is over and those with the least amount of money will pay the most.
Where your money is at will say alot about you and how much money you have (or don’t).

Andy

October 20th, 2010
7:54 am

Money Talk, Credit Unions are not out there to “make money off of you”, they are not for profit. I doubt we will see any credit union start charging for checking accounts.

CE

October 20th, 2010
8:05 am

Online banks such as ING Direct…no minimums, no fees, plenty of free ATM’s, pays interest, easy to deal with, etc….

doopnocktola

October 20th, 2010
8:19 am

I can’t follow all of this they have foreclousers then they stop them. Then they start them again. Crazy financial instruments like credit cards that charge you interest that the Cosa Nostra is envious of. Working and saving vs buy now, pay out of your spleen later. This is a great nation the politicians say. Lets get this all cranked up and going again. When you are in the retirement home. Sucking down oatmeal. The mail comes with several new bills.

You live in terror of losing what you have. The managment saying you can’t afford it. As the orderly wheels you down the hall. Out into the street. Gives you a old tomato soup can and a banjo. Then tells you here go make a living. Go join a credit union. Do something. Hands you a map with all of the rest stops in the area. So you can live in the woods and take a shower. Get your own. Is the moral of this story

Shan

October 20th, 2010
8:21 am

This is really terrible news. I don’t bank with BofA, but another major bank, and I wonder if they will do away with free checking. My credit union offers free checking, but what if they all decideto forgo free checking for customers? I work in a agency that requires all employees to opt for direct deposit, so it is not as if I can ditch the banks!

gary

October 20th, 2010
8:21 am

The banking landscape has changed so much over the years. Customers no longer do all their business with the bank they have their checking with. You used to have a family with two checking accounts a savings account and a handful of CD’s, a home loan and a couple of car loans all at the same bank. That customer is gone today. They have their investments with one company, car loan through the dealership farmed out to other banks, they just use the bank for checking. The bank is loosing money because many of the people writing the most checks and using the most services keep little in their account. As soon as they get paid, they pay their bills and the account is empty again. They bank gets little from this. Eventually even the credit unions will have to change their ways.

doopnocktola

October 20th, 2010
8:31 am

Truth be told most people are hanging by the skin of their teeth. There are exceptions. The wife counts socks. Worrying about monthly bills. Utilities are a rip off they can survive on a lot less. They could bill yearly. A tent may not be a bad place to live if your not getting billed every month by someone. Flat rate utilities and flat rate credit cards with a limit. Flat rate checking. No one talks sense. Just give it up to the good old days. Prophits based on debt. A lot of you can look at what you have on a balance sheet and their is nothing left. Its paid out. The smart ones pay off early. But even that is not sufficent. What you paid was way to much I guarentee it. 25k cars please.

BobDog

October 20th, 2010
8:33 am

The banks can’t make money on overdraft charges like they could before, which was a huge profit center. They are going to have make it up.

Community banks and credit unions do charge lower fees. My community bank pays my ATM fees for me at any other bank’s ATM, literally anywhere in the world. Community banks don’t tend to nickel and dime you like the big banks, but many are struggling because they didn’t get TARP assistance like the big banks did.

If community banks had gotten help with TARP, they would still be around to loan to small business, which the big banks have resisted.

Dave

October 20th, 2010
8:40 am

I have been with a credit union since the mid-80s and have been very pleased with them. I also have an account with a local bank named after a near-by star and I have been pleased with their services as well. Should one or the other get too greedy, I’ll have to rethink my loyalties.

I tried using the online payment options with those companies I pay monthly only to be discouraged when, a year or two ago, several kept changing their sign-in screens and forced me to change my passwords from the previous month(s). I went back to writing checks and am very happy with that. I have a more secure feeling that my payments go out on time and are received on time … with no hassles from company web sites.

One thing I just learned from the associating article, I didn’t know that it cost banks so much money to, simply, produce a written statement. Though I prefer written statements, I’ll change my online settings to save my credit union and bank money. I don’t mind going online to view my statements. Thank goodness the financial institutions make it easy to work online.

Janice

October 20th, 2010
8:42 am

i’m so afraid of community banks. the ones i’ve seen near home are there one day and then another bank as there were problems. credit unions are good, just not as convenient.

i haven’t received a paper bank statement in years. online banking, download it. i’m able to watch and manage my money better with online banking, as i check it more often than waiting for paper statement at the end of the month.

what little money i have, earns just barely enough interest not to be withdrawn and stuck inbetween the matress.

Rebecca

October 20th, 2010
8:42 am

I can’t imagine why they need to do that when they are making so much money off the prison inmates “trust fund”. They surely make interest while the money sits in the account before it is transferred to the inmates plus they are charging 75 cents for each deposit made.

I Don't Get It

October 20th, 2010
8:47 am

Soooo…. instead of the banks making 10 BILLION and paying their CEO 10 Million dollars, they’ll only make 5 BILLION and have to pay their CEO 5 Million? Am I missing something??? I actually think it’s high time banks stop pick pocketing folks. What they do amounts to legal robbery. This has bascially stopped them from profiting ENORMOUSLY from the stupid, irresponsible, unorganized, and/or people who live paycheck to paycheck. We should be dancing in the streets. Doesn’t make sense for a bank CEO, VP, EVP, and the like to have gold faucets in their multi-million dollar homes when they’re not approving for someone credit worthy to buy a $100,000 house. Let’s bring these cheating giants down to earth a bit. And don’t give me that “they worked hard to get where they are so they deserve a big paycheck” baloney. Most folks in positions like that hire from within a very small circle ~ friends of friends, relatives, and fellow country club members.

twoc

October 20th, 2010
8:52 am

Thanks obama

twoc

October 20th, 2010
8:54 am

You don’t get it bc you are an idiot

doopnocktola

October 20th, 2010
9:02 am

I belong to twelve credit unions.

CU to bank customer

October 20th, 2010
9:04 am

@ Andy and others

I agree with money talks. Correct that credit unions are “not for profit” but they have to make money to cover expenses which are mounting as they continue to grow. They may not charging for accounts now but there will come a time very soon they’ll be forced to do so. I have come to realize that I was better serviced by a big bank because the credit unions couldn’t offer what I needed so I went back to a large bank. Nothing will be “free” soon.

doopnocktola

October 20th, 2010
9:09 am

So is the answer to socialize all of these banking and finance institutions? The equation comes out the same. The rich get rich and the stupid stay poor. Tell me what the wisdom is in socializing. Part of this has always been that way. Whats the diff?

LMAO

October 20th, 2010
9:10 am

@ I Don’t Get It … and you NEVER will!
Banks have enough wealthy customers that aren’t going anywhere and they’ll keep the big guys in business. Good luck with that knocking them down to earth bit. ;0

Monica

October 20th, 2010
9:11 am

I have free checking with direct deposit. I am unaware if that policy is chaning. I love direct depost, by the way.

Dave

October 20th, 2010
9:14 am

The best option is to tell BOA, Wachovia and Suntrust to “Kiss Off” …. My move to a customer serviced based credit union came when I went into a BOA and wanted to cash my paycheck (written on a BOA account) I was not a BOA account holder so they informed me of a $5 fee to cash this check written by one of their account holders. WHAT A RIPOFF do not twist my arm to make me have to have a BOA (or other big monster megabank) account in order to avoid this fee, How about making me WANT to be a customer by IMPRESSING ME with GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE what a novel idea! I LOVE MY CREDIT UNION AND WILL NEVER USE A BIG MONSTER MEGABANK!

CC

October 20th, 2010
9:23 am

Try http://www.2GOCHECKING.com Community Banking is still FREE

Change

October 20th, 2010
9:42 am

Dave your “kiss off” is much like a boycott – it doesn’t work. The BIG MONSTER MEGABANK is going to keep the bulk of their customer base whether you like it or not. Everyone with a financial sense knows that you don’t use a bank just to cash a paycheck, they probably looked at what you made and laughed. I agree with what someone said earlier, free services even at the credit unions won’t be around for long. Where are you going to go next? You waste more time and money by chasing all the freebies that are slowly disappearing. Now that’s change we should have expected

bjcole

October 20th, 2010
9:42 am

I bank with Fidelity Bank which is a great community bank.. 23 locations and free checking.. Been in business since 1974 here in Atlanta… I used to bank B of A and Wachovia, NEVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!

Lillybelle

October 20th, 2010
9:43 am

Duh! Do your banking with a hometown bank that’s been around & has a strong rating. I love my hometown bank!

Small banks

October 20th, 2010
9:46 am

I agree with the monster megabanks being terrible.. Call them to refinance your mortgage.. Wells Fargo is taking 75 days and has the worse customer service, B of A is taking 60 days, Suntrust 60 days… Call a small community bank like Fidelity or United Community and see how fast you can close on your loan and i guarentee they even give you a 4% or 4.125% on 30 year fix which will be lower than the big bank as well.

Half Staffed

October 20th, 2010
9:56 am

Welcome to the nanny state.

Melissa

October 20th, 2010
10:03 am

Can you say CREDIT UNION? All metro Publix stores offer fee free ATMs and none of my credit unions charge an ATM fee. Delta Community is a lovely credit union. Try it out and stop paying fees.

Nonia

October 20th, 2010
10:11 am

2 words: Credit Union

LOLx2

October 20th, 2010
10:25 am

Exactly Melissa, it pays to shop around. Credit Unions have a much larger network of ATMs free of charge than is realized. All you have to do is ask. Nobody is forcing you to bank at BOA or any of the other big banks. You do have a choice. It pays to shop around and find an institution that fits your needs.

People can spend so much time shopping around for a flat screen tv but won’t do the same when it comes to their banking.

Scott

October 20th, 2010
10:42 am

Using online banking with Bank of America, you cannot see your exact balance using their system since any bills you’ve paid using their bill pay feature do not show up in your account activity (which should act like a check register) until they clear. So, this is the ultimate scam, allowing the bank to collect bounced check fees when you fail to do the math yourself on paper or in your head. This means that you must continue to maintain an offline check register. They charge exorbitant amount for paper checks to encourage you to use this flawed system. What is the point? Look for another bank…

A Better Way

October 20th, 2010
10:44 am

For the life of me I simply cannot understand why people bank with BoA. Give me a credit union and a community bank any day over the cold, distant, monolithic entity that is BoA.

Light

October 20th, 2010
11:01 am

Let God will be done thru this blog http://lightoftheearth.blogspot.com/

peter

October 20th, 2010
11:02 am

somehow this bushes fault….. im a douche by the way

doopnocktola

October 20th, 2010
11:17 am

I went into a BOA the other day. A lot of people in there are the Sinclair Lewis types. I applyed for a small loan. When the loan officer, Boris asked if I was a party member I replyed no. He then told me I have very little chance for a loan. He then told me to go find a relative that belonged to the party. So I could join.

Bobby

October 20th, 2010
11:20 am

If banks were an honest business the government would not have had to finally step in and curtail their abuses. Move to a credit union folks. Much better customer service and they actually like having customers.

Bajeha

October 20th, 2010
12:21 pm

IMO credit unions are the only way to go. I’ve been with two since the 70’s and have yet to have a problem with either one. Both are large, well capitalized CUs that offer a full array of banking products and customer services, including e-banking.

I think many people are unware that the banking rules that govern CUs — which are owned by their customers and thus are fiducially responsible to them — do not allow them to make the same risky loans that have doomed so many investor-owned, for-profit commercial banks. This is why most CUs have been and still are healthy and viable today.

No way will I deal with the monster mega banks that drove us into this recession. The executives who approved their risky loans and nefarious backroom practices remain free at large and still collect million-dollar bonuses. So what if the megabanks have repaid the TARP loans that bailed them out? They’ve thanked you and me by lobbying Congress to weaken the financial reform act by making themselves “too big to fail”, among other insults. And they’re still ripping us off by sitting on cash that should be loaned to creditworthy businesses, homeowners and individuals, and stalling the recovery with glacial mortgage (re)financing and fraudulent foreclosure practices.

Now they want to charge customers directly for using their services. My question is: Why are you still doing business with them?

Bosshog

October 20th, 2010
12:33 pm

Why is we in iraq fighting the teleban when the enemy is right here in this country. we need to bring back our boys back and let them loose on the banks.

sid

October 20th, 2010
1:06 pm

i don’t have any money

Gordon

October 20th, 2010
1:19 pm

Why does anyone need to use a teller or get bank statements? Just use either the night deposit or the ATM for deposits (you don’t even need a deposit slip anymore), and get your statements online. I like Wachovia (soon to be Wells Fargo) because they have branches everywhere. I don’t (and won’t) pay any fees. I don’t even pay fees for using Quicken online banking and bill pay, and someone I’ve already spoken to at WF has told me that will continue. We’ll see.

Gordon

October 20th, 2010
1:23 pm

Here is the problem:

“In the last year, lawmakers in Washington have passed a range of new laws aimed at protecting bank customers from harsh fees, like the $35 charged to some Bank of America customers who overdrafted their account by buying something small like a Starbucks latte.”

Why shouldn’t the bank be able to charge what they want for someone who overdrafts their account? If you can’t keep up with your bank balance with all the technology available today, that is your problem. Switch banks if you don’t like it. Now the rest of us have to pay for this “protection”.

doopnocktola

October 20th, 2010
1:44 pm

Washington is protecting us? The Obama administration? Your joking right. Is this Russia? I prefer to be free instead of enslaved by idealists.

Typical customer

October 20th, 2010
1:47 pm

I can’t manage the little bit of money that I make, so obviously it’s the nasty monster mega bank’s fault. How dare they charge me fees when I don’t follow the rules, that is simply robbery! They also forced me to sign a mortgage that I can’t pay back, but how dare they foreclose on me and kick me out of my home. I am entitled and I have rights. I want the government to fight for me and take over all my decisions because I am stupid. In fact the reason I don’t have money and make bad financial decisions is because I am dumb.

Credit unions have so much government intervention and that’s why I love them. They will always give me checking for free, won’t they?

doopnocktola

October 20th, 2010
2:11 pm

As long as you can operate a garden hose the Obama administration will give you money.

TechMom

October 20th, 2010
2:37 pm

After having an auto loan with one of the big boys years ago and them erroneously reporting that we never made the final payment on the loan (even though we did and they even mailed us the free & clear title), I will never again bank with a big bank. It took us literally years to get it removed from our credit b/c they turned it over to a collection agency without notifying us. It was a complete mess.

We still love our CU even though we are probably 20 miles from the closest one since my husband swtiched jobs. Even if “your” CU isn’t nearby, most of them are part of a network now that will allow you to make deposits and withdrawals at just about any CU. We are also members of USAA and have several accounts with them. Everything is completely online and they have the best customer service. They reimburse you for any ATM (I’m sure it’s cheaper than building branches all over the place) and you can use your fax machine or SmartPhone for deposits so there’s really no need for a branch.

John

October 20th, 2010
3:24 pm

Use a Credit Union. They’re protected from this kind of nonsense, at least for now (and until the big banks get legislation passed that takes away those protections).

Jeepster

October 20th, 2010
3:25 pm

Gordon,

I got the notice about a month ago – Wells Fargo will charge $5.95 per month for Quicken access unless you have a senior account. So I quit using it. :-(