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From totally free checking to totally fleece checking
Old 01-25-2012, 01:40 PM   #1
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From totally free checking to totally fleece checking

Well, I'm off to close out a checking account.

When looking at my balances, I see one account with a monthly fee. I guess, a new year, new fee rules that wasn't there before.


Two can play this game
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:51 PM   #2
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My bank told me last summer they were going to convert my checking account to a different type and start charging me a nominal fee last October. I immediately called and said I did not want the type changed, that I was happy with what I had. They said I could not keep the old type because it had been phased out. I said I'd be closing the account (that I've had with them for over 30 years). The CS agent miraculously found a way that I could keep the old type, which is totally free and without "catches." The old type name still appears on my statements but is not listed among the account types available. When I go in to get some kind of service (like a Medallion guarantee), my account type does not appear on their little form they use to decide if the service I need is free so they have always checked the premium checking box and not charged me.

Ha, I think I found a loophole in their system. The day they catch on and start charging me will be the same day I change banks. After 30 years I will be loyal, but only as long as they are.
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:54 PM   #3
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Good for you. At least the consumer banking sector is a competitive one and there are still plenty of truly free checking options out there for folks willing to do the homework and the legwork.
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:57 PM   #4
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My bricks-and-mortar bank still does not charge me fees, and I even have interest bearing checking with them that provides me with about $0.25/month. Nothing to write home about, but it is a nice gesture IMO.

The fact that I pay no fees is not due to excellent shopping for banks, but due to luck. I have had the same account for 13 years, and the original bank was taken over by a mega-bank a few years back.

There are options out there. Go for it!
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:01 PM   #5
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Good to see folks voting with their feet (or mice if using on-line banks).
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:27 PM   #6
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The last time I had a bank account was in the 1980's when my (then) bank started charging 50 or 75 cents for customers to use a walk-up teller person in the lobby.
I have been a loyal credit union customer for the last 30 years.
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:37 PM   #7
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The bank I'm with now has the 15/10 rule. That is, to avoid a monthly fee of $9.95, the account must have 15 withdrawal transactions (excluding ATM withdrawals) or a $10,000 average balance.

I had two accounts. One wasn't used that much and got hit with the fee, the other, I'm borderline each month..so far, no fees incurred on that account.
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:40 PM   #8
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We've never paid bank fees either, and in our case due entirely to luck. We've moved around quite a bit but always ended up in fairly small communities (30-90K), where local or small regional banks were the norm. We've never done business with a big (national/international) bank - fortunately it appears...
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
Good to see folks voting with their feet (or mice if using on-line banks).
+1

I strongly believe that in our economic system it is extremely important to seek out the best value and reward the provider with your business. And don't do business with #2. That makes any single provider's demand curve very elastic, a good thing if we want busnesses to be highly motivated to work very, very hard to provide the best deal on the slimmest of margins.
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Old 01-25-2012, 04:09 PM   #10
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My bank does offer some conveniences:

1) branch at grocery store right down the block

2) open 7 days a week

3) free coin counting at branch nearby

Since I felt like the bank was nickel and diming me with the 15/10K rule of maintenance charges, I nickel and dimed them back to avoid the fee.

What I did was since I have some monthly auto transactions set up, I instead set them up as bimonthly to get the total of transactions per month up. Now, that'll satisfy the 15 transactions per month treshhold each and every month.

As I said, two can play this game
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Old 01-25-2012, 04:25 PM   #11
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Several years ago, the bank where the family bidness had banked for 50 years (with several bank name changes in between) suddenly decided they would charge $3 to open the bank bags that we deposited after hours. I went over and talked to them but they wouldn't budge. The bidness kept an average of $25K in non-interest checking with this bank. I closed the acct. and moved it to a bank without the fee. 6 months later, the old bank called to ask why we had closed the account "after all these years". It was a very enjoyable conversation since there was nothing the old bank could do about losing a small fortune in "free" money because of their $3 fee that couldn't be waived for a good customer. Sweet!!
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Old 01-25-2012, 04:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
We've never paid bank fees either, and in our case due entirely to luck. We've moved around quite a bit but always ended up in fairly small communities (30-90K), where local or small regional banks were the norm. We've never done business with a big (national/international) bank - fortunately it appears...
The bank I was referring to is JPMorgan Chase. I think it qualifies as a big bank. When I've shopped around to cover the just-in-case I have found that the smaller and regional banks I checked have all had worse fees. They tended to want small business accounts rather than individuals.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:12 PM   #13
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Big banks....

I love 'em (for the bank bonuses) and leave 'em (after the minimum account open period passes)
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:25 PM   #14
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The bank I was referring to is JPMorgan Chase. I think it qualifies as a big bank. When I've shopped around to cover the just-in-case I have found that the smaller and regional banks I checked have all had worse fees. They tended to want small business accounts rather than individuals.
There are credit unions and larger institutions that don't. USAA Bank (does not require military affiliation like their insurance products) and Schwab Bank have totally free checking and ATM fee rebates (I have accounts with both). I'm sure there are others as well, if free checking and either a large ATM network or fee rebates are important.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:29 PM   #15
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The bank I was referring to is JPMorgan Chase. I think it qualifies as a big bank. When I've shopped around to cover the just-in-case I have found that the smaller and regional banks I checked have all had worse fees. They tended to want small business accounts rather than individuals.
Like Ziggy said, credit unions. Everybody can join PenFed and you might qualify for NFCU membership.

USAA's not a credit union but everybody can bank with them too. It's only the insurance products which have restrictions.

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Old 01-25-2012, 10:09 PM   #16
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I joined Penfed 4 years ago after recommendations from this site and continue to enjoy free on-line banking with them, including a credit card and CD's, with no issues. I have also been a customer of an internet bank for about 8 years, still with no fees. It took a little getting used to not having a bricks and mortar place to visit, but I don't miss that at all these days. Even check deposits are easy now using a scanner, so no US mail to worry about.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:22 PM   #17
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I love my credit union. No fees at all. I've been with them about 25 years and could never figure out why anyone would want to deal with BofA, JPM and the like.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:31 PM   #18
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Free checking from Wells Fargo. They put on fees but were smart enough to waive ours without us asking.
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:04 PM   #19
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I too like CUs and am a member at two from my old "life". We still use these CUs for their various advantages (sometimes better interest rates on savings and CDs, sometimes just as "brick and mortar" places when we visit the mainland). But, when we moved 5000 miles away, we thought it prudent to also have a "local" bank account. So far, our "bank" hasn't begun the increasing-fee-go-round. If they ever do, I'll drop them faster than 9th grade Latin class. I must say, they weren't much help when we needed a mortgage a couple of years ago, even though we had set up accounts with them several years back. Still, no one local ever questions our checks (beyond the ordinary). YMMV
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:36 PM   #20
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The bank I was referring to is JPMorgan Chase. I think it qualifies as a big bank. When I've shopped around to cover the just-in-case I have found that the smaller and regional banks I checked have all had worse fees. They tended to want small business accounts rather than individuals.
The only problem saying it is Chase is that they have taken over so many banks over the years it really does not matter if you have been a customer for 30 years (heck, 5 years is a long time in banking)... you might be 'new' to them...


My wife just closed her accounts with Cap One and Chase... because of how high a balance they wanted to have free checking for Chase and not lettting you get your money for Cap One... she is moving to my CU that I have been with for 35 years... but I do not have much with them...

We also closed our joint account from Cap One... they asked why.... well, your online bill pay was bad (they said they fixed it), you do not let us get our money when we want (they freeze your account to 'protect' you after two months) and they did not allow their ATM to work overseas (again, to 'protect' you)...

The funny thing is that the manager of the Cap One said she had an account at a CU
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