More bad news for free checking account users.
I have talked about how free checking accounts, which we took for granted so far, have changed lately after new bank laws have been enacted since last year. These new regulations, which are all good laws BTW, intent to protect consumers by prohibiting banks from imposing arbitrary high interest rates on credit cards and charging outrageous bank fees. However, banks are very fast to adjust the way they do business in order to make up those lost revenues. One item that was quickly put on the chopping block is free checking account. BB&T Bank and US Bank will soon replace their free checking accounts by accounts that require either direct deposit or minimum balance to avoid monthly charge. Now Bank of American, the largest bank in the nation by assets, has raised the bar even higher for small customers.
BofA has already have the direct deposit/minimum balance requirement in place for its MyAccess Checking Account. And like BB&T Bank and US Bank, it only requirement customers to make one qualified monthly direct deposit into the account to be eligible for fee waiver. There’s no information on how much the direct deposit has to be, which means that you can make $1 direct deposit every month and get the monthly maintenance fee of $8.95 waived. But starting May 24, you will have to make at least one large deposit every month if you don’t want to pay the finance charge. From BofA website:
Effective with statement cycles beginning on or after May 24, 2011, meet one of the following requirements during each statement cycle:
- Have at least one qualifying direct deposit of $250 or more made to your account each statement cycle.
- Maintain an average daily balance of $1,500 or more in your account.
While these requirements (direct deposit, $1,500 or more balance) have been adopted by more and more banks, particularly large banks, BofA is going a little further to require a specific amount of deposit in order to get the fee waiver. Will other bank follow suite?