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Old 06-18-2010, 10:00 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Gone4Good View Post
My WaMu checking account was advertised as "Free Checking, Free Everything, for Life" with no minimum balance requirements . . . In retrospect I guess "for life" referred to their life, not mine. But so far Chase is honoring the original agreement and just sent me a new box of checks for free.

My BOA account is "free" with a $750 deposit. But if you want paper checks you have to pay for them.

LOL... I have to agree... one of my first checking accounts back in the late 70s was with a bank that had offered the FREE everything for life... they went under and was bought by some other small bank... when I said this to someone... their response was 'Well, they are dead'... It got me mad at the time, but now that you reminded me of it... it is funny...
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:55 PM   #22
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I remember back in college I had a bank on campus that had a minimum balance of $500 which was a lot of money to keep in the bank for a college kid. Luckily, I had my bicycle so I peddled to a savings and loan that had great customer service and either a minimum balance of $50 or none at all (I forget, exactly). My first lesson in that not all banks are the same.
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:58 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
LOL... I have to agree... one of my first checking accounts back in the late 70s was with a bank that had offered the FREE everything for life... they went under and was bought by some other small bank... when I said this to someone... their response was 'Well, they are dead'... It got me mad at the time, but now that you reminded me of it... it is funny...
Free for Life. Not a bank, but I remember when the internet subscriptions were just starting, I signed up for one that offered lifetime service for a $250 one time charge. Ends up, the company went belly up in about a year after I signed up, but the cost was pretty much a wash had I signed up with AOL's monthly rate at the time.
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Old 06-18-2010, 02:13 PM   #24
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I get free checking at a large local commercial bank - because I'm over 50. Free checks, too, and a free small safe deposit box (or a discount on a larger one). I get paper statements - I just can't deal with everything being online. I have had nothing but grief with BoA in various ways. Good luck to them - maybe they just want out of the checking account business totally.

The bank I use is one of the best rated in the country.

I pay most of my bills online in various ways and maybe write 5 checks a month - more in the summer when we pay someone to cut the lawn. Not a big deal.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:06 PM   #25
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Can somebody please 'splain to me why anybody uses a bank?
-2 credit unions
-I haven't paid a bank fee since 1981!
-Free overdraft protection
-Subsidized HEL's - no closing costs or appraisal fees
-Free on-line bill-pay service
-Free paper checks (I have to write those for property tax and estimated tax payments)
-Free ATMs (CU charges $.75 if you use another bank's ATM to make a withdrawal from their account)
-Fee-free credit card, that has cash-back rebates on gas and groceries

Amethyst
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:36 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
-Free ATMs (CU charges $.75 if you use another bank's ATM to make a withdrawal from their account)
That's why I used a bank - back when I paid cash for most things, I wanted the largest local network of ATMs - Credit Unions had few locations

Now I don't need ATM cash that often and a CU or Fido/Vanguard is better
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:09 PM   #27
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CuppaJoe,
I use to work for Bank of California for about 5 years, I left about a year after they merged with Union. I thought all I would get was my 401k money, but turns out the grandfathered all new employees into Union defined benefits plan. So I got it plus the 401k! Both banks were good to work for. As I left the state, I have often wondered what type of company they have morphed into.
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Old 06-19-2010, 03:03 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
Can somebody please 'splain to me why anybody uses a bank?
-2 credit unions
-I haven't paid a bank fee since 1981!
-Free overdraft protection
-Subsidized HEL's - no closing costs or appraisal fees
-Free on-line bill-pay service
-Free paper checks (I have to write those for property tax and estimated tax payments)
-Free ATMs (CU charges $.75 if you use another bank's ATM to make a withdrawal from their account)
-Fee-free credit card, that has cash-back rebates on gas and groceries

Amethyst
Except for your first comment (2CUs)... my bank is the same..

I have not paid a fee.. hmmm, well, I think I paid a fee once in my life... back when I was 22 or so... fixed that quickly...
Free overdraft protection (now, this might be changing since I just got a letter concerning OD on ATMs... but I have not used it in 20 plus years)
Same.. HEL... but closed mine when I sold my old house... did not get a new one on the new house
Online bill pay.. for about 12 years now
I have been back and forth with free checks and me paying for checks... but I have never needed checks when it would have cost me
Free ATM... with a LOT of them
Free CC with 5% cash on groceries, gas and drugs
Other free CCs which pay cash back on other items

Lots of branches... their ATMs will take checks and give you a picture of them.. I can get a safe deposit box cheap (I used to be able to get it free.. but changed the account)...

SOOO, no different than you... that is why I use a bank...
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Old 06-19-2010, 06:29 AM   #29
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I suspect that many things that used to be free, or otherwise beneficial, will go the same way. Not sure if it was referenced in that WSJ article, but there is pending legislation to regulate the fees that banks charge merchants for credit card transactions. Along with the other recent changes made to the law which more severely restricts how/when banks can change interest rates on credit cards, this likely means that cash back programs, hotel points programs, etc. will disappear. I know I take advantage of credit cards as a means of "wealth accumulation"--put everything on a credit card to generate some free hotel nights----never have paid for a credit card; never paid any interest. I suspect many of your are the same. In short, all of these regualtory changes that impact what we pay for credit cards, checking accounts, etc. amount to stealth tax increases on those who are basically finanicially responsible. Sure the legislation might limit bounced check fees, thereby reducing costs for those who can't balance a check book, but I have (and again, I suspect the same is true for most of you) never bounced a check. Nobody in Washingotn, DC will call these changes a "tax" increase, but that's what they are. And, yes, you may be able to avoid the chanres by changing banks, getting a new credit card, but at a minimum, it is a burden on your time (and time is money)--without these changes, you would not have had the inconvenience of having to make these changes.
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Old 06-19-2010, 08:07 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Delawaredave5 View Post
That's why I used a bank - back when I paid cash for most things, I wanted the largest local network of ATMs - Credit Unions had few locations

Now I don't need ATM cash that often and a CU or Fido/Vanguard is better
Well, I joined my credit union (Alliant Credit Union in Chicago, IL) for the mere fact that they have fee-free access to way more ATM than even some of the world's largest banks.

Alliant gives me fee-free access to over 80,000 officially reported and about 40,000 unreported ATMs. They are part of the CO-OP Network, which means I can pretty much deposit fee-free at virtually any other credit union's ATM. They also part of several others ATM networks. PLUS, STAR, Allpoint, Interlink and MoneyPass come to mind. I can even make fee-free deposits and withdrawals at 7-Eleven, US Bank and Bank of the West locations.

When I compare their ATM coverage to Bank of America (18,700), Citibank (3800), and Chase (15,000). They actually have more access than all of them COMBINED!
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Old 06-19-2010, 08:54 AM   #31
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Does anyone have any idea when Bank of America is going to get rid of free checking? I have one of those free checking accounts and need to know when to dump it.
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Old 06-19-2010, 09:41 AM   #32
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Bank of America is planning to get rid of its basic free-checking account, this morning's WSJ reports. Other banks may follow suit.
It costs banks a few hundred bucks a year to maintain a customer's checking account. Banks have been able to make that up (and more) largely by charging overdraft fees.
But new federal rules mean banks can only charge those fees to customers who sign up for overdraft protection.
I think the "few hundred bucks" is BoA pulling some WSJ reporter's leg. It certainly costs them something. And, given the current low interest rates, they probably can't cover their costs with the use of the money in the typical balance. But I have trouble with hundreds of dollars.

The financially literate and responsible people who post here have been able to get the best deals from banks. In some cases we've been subsidized by the less literate/responsible customers. Banks have probably relied on statistics that show that even customers like us who have been careful in the past sometimes slip up and start paying fees, so it's been a reasonable marketing strategy for them.

If Congress reduces the profits they can make on special fees by pushing them closer to the banks' actual costs, then banks will have to charge something closer to the actual costs of providing checking accounts and credit cards to people like us. I don't see anything wrong with that. There are enough banks and credit unions competing for my business that I'm confident I won't pay more than a "fair" cost, even if it turns out to be more than my current "subsidized" cost.
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