Free checking appears to be going the way of the free lunch at one of the country’s biggest banks, Wells Fargo.
New credit card regulations aimed at trimming consumers’ fees are costing many national banks big bucks. Many of the country’s biggest financial institutions say they’ll have to recoup the losses by adding new monthly fees.
Wells Fargo confirmed that starting June, it will raise checking account fees for new customers by $7 a month in six more states nationwide. The move followed new federal laws limiting extra credit card charges the banks claim are cutting into their profits. But this latest round of new fees will not be hitting Florida account holders just yet.
When CBS4 News asked Wells Fargo when fees could start rising in Florida, we were told in a prepared statement by Florida Regional Vice President for Corporate Communications Christina Smotryski, “Regarding your question about Florida, we plan to eventually introduce the fee for essential checking across the bank and as always will communicate with customers well in advance”.
If your bank raises its’ rates, check out your neighborhood community bank to see if it offers free checking. Also double check your local credit unions, which usually offer non-profit banking services, including free checking.
The full statement on the new checking account fees from Wells Fargo, released by Smotryski:
“Wells Fargo stopped offering free checking to new customers in 2010. A similar change for Personal Checking was introduced to existing customers in legacy Wells Fargo states in 2011. This month, we began communicating to customers in 6 Eastern states that a $7 fee /$5 with online statements will be charged for Essential Checking if the customers do not waive the fee with direct deposit or balances. The fee can be waived by maintaining a $1,500 minimum daily balance or qualifying direct deposits totaling $500 or more each statement cycle. We encourage our customers to speak with a banker if they have questions about the changes and to discuss which accounts and services best fit their financial needs. The states included are: GA, NJ, DE, CT, NY and PA. It is always our first priority to communicate any changes to customers first, so that we have the opportunity to answer questions and help ensure they are in the right account for them. Although we are communicating to customers in these 6 states now, the fees will not be assessed until June. Regarding your question about Florida, we plan to eventually introduce the fee for Essential Checking across the bank and, as always, will communicate first with customers well in advance of any change affecting them.”