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(The Consumerist)   Free checking accounts are vanishing at an alarming rate, and it's all your fault. And yours. Yours too. And you. But not you; your money is hidden in a coffee can under your bed. But it is YOUR fault too, you over there   (consumerist.com) divider line 141
    More: PSA, checking accounts  
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6257 clicks; posted to Main » on 07 Feb 2014 at 2:00 AM (33 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-02-06 11:36:51 PM
There are still plenty of free checking accounts out there, but many of them are through small regional banks and credit unions.

Oh no, credit unions!  Who would want to do that?
 
2014-02-07 12:15:24 AM
regulators clamped down on the fees banks could earn from businesses for processing debit card transactions. The lost revenue would have to be made up somewhere, so many of the larger banks took away debit card and checking account perks and began to squeeze out free checking accounts that attracted customers with low-value balances.

Suuuuure. It's all the fault of those damn big gubmint meddlers. Banks have NEVER been greedy bastards ready to gouge their customers any way they can.


The vice president of the American Bankers Association once likened checking accounts to riding the train, saying no one expects to be able to ride the train for free.

You used to be able to ride the train for free? When was that?
 
2014-02-07 12:45:39 AM
Sorry, but banking is not a public service. It's a business, like any other business. People always paint broad strokes when discussing banks and bankers, citing greedy tactics by the national banks, but the reality is that there are hundreds and hundreds of local and regional banks across the country that have to follow the same regulations and laws that the majors do, but without the deep pockets.

Your average consumer account that has an average balance of less than $100 actually costs the bank money to maintain. Most banks also make it pretty simple to keep your account free, typically a minimum number of debit card purchases each statement cycle or whatever, so it's really not that hard and I can hardly feel bad for anyone who can't balance their checkbook and rack up overdraft fees.

Yeah, it's crappy that banks rearrange the posting order of transactions, although the reasoning is sound (would you rather have your mortgage payment bounce, get a giant late fee from your lender, and potentially get a hit on your credit report, or would you rather pay a fee for the purchase you didn't have the money for at Dunkin Donuts?) but that's not unique to any one bank, they all do it, and they all lay it out in front of you when you open your account and give you that disclosure booklet.

So yeah, I don't feel bad for the big banks, but I don't feel bad for people unwilling or unable to manage their money either.
 
2014-02-07 12:55:27 AM
I like my little bank. They have a great smartphone app, and my checking account is free.

So ... yeah. I got that going for me.
 
2014-02-07 01:32:24 AM
My checking account garners something like 1% or 0.5% interest. Meanwhile, they loan that money out for anywhere between 5-10-20% interest. The day they start charging fees is the day I pull up stakes and close the account.
 
2014-02-07 01:39:43 AM
LOVE my credit union: free checking, they don't mess with the posting order of transactions, went the extra mile and rescinded a fee imposed on me for something which was their error when I pointed it out to them, and I've got a decent interest rate too. There is no way I'd ever switch to a bank.
 
2014-02-07 01:59:27 AM
I bank at a small regional bank.  totally free checking, free debit card and the refund my ATM fees on the rare occasion i need cash and the bank is closed.

The bank is not perfect but its a far sight better than big banks i have dealt with in the past.
 
2014-02-07 02:02:48 AM
As far as I can tell every major bank has free checking for students and people with direct deposit.  If you aren't either of those you probably don't have a reason to have a bank account
 
2014-02-07 02:03:03 AM
Food for thought: I'm old enough to remember when free checking was a rarity, and required fairly heft minimum balances.

And you know what? It wasn't really that long ago.
 
2014-02-07 02:05:23 AM
Poor people problems. I can afford the fees, which by and large, are bullshiat. But I'll live. Banks are a business, are they not?
 
2014-02-07 02:10:29 AM
Who the fark uses checks anymore?

FFS it's 2014, stop using an 18th century method of payment.
 
2014-02-07 02:12:27 AM

TheXerox: LOVE my credit union: free checking, they don't mess with the posting order of transactions, went the extra mile and rescinded a fee imposed on me for something which was their error when I pointed it out to them, and I've got a decent interest rate too. There is no way I'd ever switch to a bank.


You must have low expectations if you think that removing a fee that they hit you with by "accident" is going the extra mile.
 
2014-02-07 02:13:39 AM

spman: Sorry, but banking is not a public service. It's a business, like any other business. People always paint broad strokes when discussing banks and bankers, citing greedy tactics by the national banks, but the reality is that there are hundreds and hundreds of local and regional banks across the country that have to follow the same regulations and laws that the majors do, but without the deep pockets.

Your average consumer account that has an average balance of less than $100 actually costs the bank money to maintain. Most banks also make it pretty simple to keep your account free, typically a minimum number of debit card purchases each statement cycle or whatever, so it's really not that hard and I can hardly feel bad for anyone who can't balance their checkbook and rack up overdraft fees.

Yeah, it's crappy that banks rearrange the posting order of transactions, although the reasoning is sound (would you rather have your mortgage payment bounce, get a giant late fee from your lender, and potentially get a hit on your credit report, or would you rather pay a fee for the purchase you didn't have the money for at Dunkin Donuts?) but that's not unique to any one bank, they all do it, and they all lay it out in front of you when you open your account and give you that disclosure booklet.

So yeah, I don't feel bad for the big banks, but I don't feel bad for people unwilling or unable to manage their money either.


What bank are you an executive for? TD, Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America?
 
2014-02-07 02:14:07 AM
I still have a free checking account. No interest either, but that's OK.


And to answer Lith, my landlord refuses to enter the 21st Century, so I have no choice but to cut him a check every month.
 
2014-02-07 02:14:09 AM
Use a damn credit union then.

There are still plenty of free checking accounts out there
 
2014-02-07 02:17:02 AM
I have always wondered why there are no nonprofit banks.

Is it so much to ask for an organization which can handle my money and make enough to maintain itself without somehow turning a profit by gouging the customers?
 
2014-02-07 02:18:19 AM

spman: Sorry, but banking is not a public service. It's a business, like any other business. People always paint broad strokes when discussing banks and bankers, citing greedy tactics by the national banks, but the reality is that there are hundreds and hundreds of local and regional banks across the country that have to follow the same regulations and laws that the majors do, but without the deep pockets.

Your average consumer account that has an average balance of less than $100 actually costs the bank money to maintain. Most banks also make it pretty simple to keep your account free, typically a minimum number of debit card purchases each statement cycle or whatever, so it's really not that hard and I can hardly feel bad for anyone who can't balance their checkbook and rack up overdraft fees.

Yeah, it's crappy that banks rearrange the posting order of transactions, although the reasoning is sound (would you rather have your mortgage payment bounce, get a giant late fee from your lender, and potentially get a hit on your credit report, or would you rather pay a fee for the purchase you didn't have the money for at Dunkin Donuts?) but that's not unique to any one bank, they all do it, and they all lay it out in front of you when you open your account and give you that disclosure booklet.

So yeah, I don't feel bad for the big banks, but I don't feel bad for people unwilling or unable to manage their money either.


No man, people have a RIGHT to access service from a moneymaking organization for no fee or minimum balance even if there are free nonprofit community alternatives.

A bank should offer low interests, free checking, and easy credit for any American. The 99% is entitled to it.
 
2014-02-07 02:19:19 AM

Great Justice: I have always wondered why there are no nonprofit banks.


There are, they're called 'Credit Unions'.
 
2014-02-07 02:19:58 AM
Here's a thought. Don't do business with a big bank. Do business with small, local banks. Small fish aren't exactly big bank's meat and potatoes. They want the big fish. And they screw over little fish.

/ also fees because you don't have enough money is bullshiat
 
2014-02-07 02:20:35 AM

Lith: Who the fark uses checks anymore?

FFS it's 2014, stop using an 18th century method of payment.


Have to use them for rent. Money orders are a pain. But I do have free banking with perks and fantastic customer service at a regional bank here in Pgh. Dollar Bank FTW.
 
2014-02-07 02:22:46 AM

Mark Ratner: Poor people problems. I can afford the fees, which by and large, are bullshiat. But I'll live. Banks are a business, are they not?


"Poor people problems"? Well aren't YOU special.
 
2014-02-07 02:24:04 AM

Great Justice: I have always wondered why there are no nonprofit banks.

Is it so much to ask for an organization which can handle my money and make enough to maintain itself without somehow turning a profit by gouging the customers?


Do you expect the tellers and managers to work for free? If you want a loan for a car or a house, banks basically bet on your ass being able to pay. If you lose your job and have to declare bankruptcy, guess what, they lose, and so does everyone else in the long run.
 
2014-02-07 02:25:15 AM

Lith: Who the fark uses checks anymore?

FFS it's 2014, stop using an 18th century method of payment.


The utility company back in Jasper, TX.  They did not have any sort of Visa/MC merchant account.  Cash or check only.
 
2014-02-07 02:25:22 AM
go figure
 
2014-02-07 02:29:49 AM
I've been with the same credit union for over 30 years. Even when I didn't live in the same state as my credit union, I kept the account. They are so much better than any bank I have ever used that I wonder why people use banks at all.
 
2014-02-07 02:30:24 AM

super_grass: spman: Sorry, but banking is not a public service. It's a business, like any other business. People always paint broad strokes when discussing banks and bankers, citing greedy tactics by the national banks, but the reality is that there are hundreds and hundreds of local and regional banks across the country that have to follow the same regulations and laws that the majors do, but without the deep pockets.

Your average consumer account that has an average balance of less than $100 actually costs the bank money to maintain. Most banks also make it pretty simple to keep your account free, typically a minimum number of debit card purchases each statement cycle or whatever, so it's really not that hard and I can hardly feel bad for anyone who can't balance their checkbook and rack up overdraft fees.

Yeah, it's crappy that banks rearrange the posting order of transactions, although the reasoning is sound (would you rather have your mortgage payment bounce, get a giant late fee from your lender, and potentially get a hit on your credit report, or would you rather pay a fee for the purchase you didn't have the money for at Dunkin Donuts?) but that's not unique to any one bank, they all do it, and they all lay it out in front of you when you open your account and give you that disclosure booklet.

So yeah, I don't feel bad for the big banks, but I don't feel bad for people unwilling or unable to manage their money either.

No man, people have a RIGHT to access service from a moneymaking organization for no fee or minimum balance even if there are free nonprofit community alternatives.

A bank should offer low interests, free checking, and easy credit for any American. The 99% is entitled to it.


you are talking about the 99% who paid taxes to bail their asses out right?
 
2014-02-07 02:32:35 AM
I've had a credit union account (two savings accounts and a credit card) since 1994, and it Suuuuuuuuuucks.

The website is still cutting edge 1994 geocities.

The credit card charges higher interest than my Chase, BofA or Citi cards.

Their mortgage and auto loans are higher interest than what I already have via other institutions.

But maybe having a credit union is like carbon offsets... You pay more, but you have that subjective feel-good experience, like somehow you're making something better somewhere?
 
2014-02-07 02:32:53 AM
They charge fees then only have one window open and there's a line. Banks are a business that take your money and treat you like shiat. (Not all banks.)
 
2014-02-07 02:35:49 AM
USAA is my bank. I don't earn any interest on my checking account, but it's free and they refund my ATM fees. USAA is the bank I've been with the longest, simply because they haven't tried to screw me over. My only complaint with them is that their mutual funds seem to be underperforming compared to similar funds from other sources, but I can live with that.
 
2014-02-07 02:36:47 AM

Firethorn: Great Justice: I have always wondered why there are no nonprofit banks.

There are, they're called 'Credit Unions'.


Yeah, I was going to say this. They're the best.

I bailed out on big banks when Security Pacific (SoCal) was swallowed up by BofA back in the eighties. Those farkers changed the terms on my accounts and just plain sucked ass all around. In short, I had a belly full of them after the first two months.

I've been with the same credit union for almost thirty years. I signed up with them when I moved to the Bay Area in the eighties. They have two branches; one is in Alameda, the other in Petaluma. The closest one, the Petaluma branch is about two hundred miles south of me now. I do almost all my banking online.

I use a local credit union for cashing checks and whatnot, but don't take care of my finances with them.

To hell with big banks, the lot of them.
 
2014-02-07 02:37:12 AM
Free checking is a marketing ploy. A complementary service some banks provide to encourage you to do business with them. It'll come back again once the cost/benefit is in their favor. Prolly around the same time we can get a CD that's above 1%.
 
2014-02-07 02:37:31 AM

TV's Vinnie: I still have a free checking account. No interest either, but that's OK.

And to answer Lith, my landlord refuses to enter the 21st Century, so I have no choice but to cut him a check every month.


lindalouwho: Have to use them for rent. Money orders are a pain. But I do have free banking with perks and fantastic customer service at a regional bank here in Pgh. Dollar Bank FTW.


Ok, I can see that, last times I used a check was for rent, over a decade ago. But unless it's in your lease agreement that you must pay by check, why not bank transfer, or at worse cash (with signed receipt)?


DarthBart: The utility company back in Jasper, TX.  They did not have any sort of Visa/MC merchant account.  Cash or check only.


I don't even have anything smartassy to say to that it's just mind boggling.
 
2014-02-07 02:38:26 AM

iheartscotch: Here's a thought. Don't do business with a big bank. Do business with small, local banks. Small fish aren't exactly big bank's meat and potatoes. They want the big fish. And they screw over little fish.

/ also fees because you don't have enough money is bullshiat


Here's the only problem with your idea (and it's a good idea, one I practice myself).  Those small local banks seem to have been founded for only one reason.  To get big enough to attract the interest of a big bank and get bought out for a huge profit by the original investors of the bank.  It's happened 3 times to the small, local banks I've used.
 
2014-02-07 02:40:42 AM
I know the whole "credit" union thing sounds like an echo chamber, but it's true. No checking fees. No ATM fees. No anything fees, really. And every time I've had a question for them, they've been able to answer it.
 
2014-02-07 02:45:33 AM

Lith: TV's Vinnie: I still have a free checking account. No interest either, but that's OK.

And to answer Lith, my landlord refuses to enter the 21st Century, so I have no choice but to cut him a check every month.

lindalouwho: Have to use them for rent. Money orders are a pain. But I do have free banking with perks and fantastic customer service at a regional bank here in Pgh. Dollar Bank FTW.

Ok, I can see that, last times I used a check was for rent, over a decade ago. But unless it's in your lease agreement that you must pay by check, why not bank transfer, or at worse cash (with signed receipt)?


DarthBart: The utility company back in Jasper, TX.  They did not have any sort of Visa/MC merchant account.  Cash or check only.

I don't even have anything smartassy to say to that it's just mind boggling.


Tried, they won't do it. Jerks. On the bright side, I now probably have enough checks to last a lifetime. For the low, low price of 10.99!
 
2014-02-07 02:45:39 AM
I stopped banking at Bank of America when they stopped using lubricants.
 
2014-02-07 02:46:37 AM

StopLurkListen: I've had a credit union account (two savings accounts and a credit card) since 1994, and it Suuuuuuuuuucks.

The website is still cutting edge 1994 geocities.

The credit card charges higher interest than my Chase, BofA or Citi cards.

Their mortgage and auto loans are higher interest than what I already have via other institutions.

But maybe having a credit union is like carbon offsets... You pay more, but you have that subjective feel-good experience, like somehow you're making something better somewhere?


There is something horribly wrong with your credit union.

But seriously, if it sucks so hard, switch to another place. Moving money and accounts isn't as bad as it seems-- open the new account, place enough money in it to pay each bill as it comes up with the new account. In a month or two you should be all caught up. Once the "bills" are transitioned, you can move the unspent leftovers for ATM purposes, and you're done.

Telling a shiatty bank/credit union you're closing your account because they lick sweaty taint is very satisfying.
 
2014-02-07 02:46:54 AM

lindalouwho: Mark Ratner: Poor people problems. I can afford the fees, which by and large, are bullshiat. But I'll live. Banks are a business, are they not?

"Poor people problems"? Well aren't YOU special.


I am special. I own a BMW 318i and I'm pretty proud of it. I'm also a board member of my subdivision's HOA...thank you very much. I vote republican, and I go to church, so sue me. And I have a cat and a rescue dog. I am awesome.
 
2014-02-07 02:48:16 AM

Lith: TV's Vinnie: I still have a free checking account. No interest either, but that's OK.

And to answer Lith, my landlord refuses to enter the 21st Century, so I have no choice but to cut him a check every month.

lindalouwho: Have to use them for rent. Money orders are a pain. But I do have free banking with perks and fantastic customer service at a regional bank here in Pgh. Dollar Bank FTW.

Ok, I can see that, last times I used a check was for rent, over a decade ago. But unless it's in your lease agreement that you must pay by check, why not bank transfer, or at worse cash (with signed receipt)?


Unless your landlord has an ACH system set up, then it is wire transfer and lots of banks charge $20-30 at least for an outgoing wire.  Some even charge for an incoming wire.  I did used to pay my rent by cash (hit BoA for cash, walk across the street to Suntrust to deposit it to my landlord's account and most definitely keeping the receipt).  I paid my last landlord via "Online Bill Pay" checks that my bank cut and mailed to him.


DarthBart: The utility company back in Jasper, TX.  They did not have any sort of Visa/MC merchant account.  Cash or check only.

I don't even have anything smartassy to say to that it's just mind boggling.


Mind boggling is a very mild term for it.
 
2014-02-07 02:48:50 AM

bhcompy: As far as I can tell every major bank has free checking for students and people with direct deposit.  If you aren't either of those you probably don't have a reason to have a bank account


Congratulations you just got a nice shiny red tag for your name, and a not indicating you don't have a farking clue.
 
2014-02-07 02:50:13 AM
My business is a cash only transaction. I don't use banks. Don't have a need for banks. Except in Switzerland.
 
2014-02-07 02:51:20 AM

Lith: Who the fark uses checks anymore?

FFS it's 2014, stop using an 18th century method of payment.



I have a checking account.  On average I deposit 2 checks into it a year(utility company stuff), and write 2 for various reasons.  I used to write ~14 because my water company was in the stone age and didn't take anything but(or cash, and you still have more protection with a check).  Before that it was rent.

The account type is still a 'checking' account, in that it's an account with unrestricted withdrawal policies.  Savings accounts are generally restricted to 3 withdraws a month, and that includes debits.

iheartscotch: / also fees because you don't have enough money is bullshiat


It actually makes sense from the bank's perspective:
1.  There's a static cost to keeping an account open.
2.  The more money you keep in your account the more money they can loan out for profit.

Ergo - if you keep a certain minimum in your account the interest the bank earns enough money to pay for the expense of keeping your money safe.  If not, well, they'll charge you so you DO do stuff that makes your account profitable.
 
2014-02-07 02:52:46 AM

chitownmike: super_grass: spman: Sorry, but banking is not a public service. It's a business, like any other business. People always paint broad strokes when discussing banks and bankers, citing greedy tactics by the national banks, but the reality is that there are hundreds and hundreds of local and regional banks across the country that have to follow the same regulations and laws that the majors do, but without the deep pockets.

Your average consumer account that has an average balance of less than $100 actually costs the bank money to maintain. Most banks also make it pretty simple to keep your account free, typically a minimum number of debit card purchases each statement cycle or whatever, so it's really not that hard and I can hardly feel bad for anyone who can't balance their checkbook and rack up overdraft fees.

Yeah, it's crappy that banks rearrange the posting order of transactions, although the reasoning is sound (would you rather have your mortgage payment bounce, get a giant late fee from your lender, and potentially get a hit on your credit report, or would you rather pay a fee for the purchase you didn't have the money for at Dunkin Donuts?) but that's not unique to any one bank, they all do it, and they all lay it out in front of you when you open your account and give you that disclosure booklet.

So yeah, I don't feel bad for the big banks, but I don't feel bad for people unwilling or unable to manage their money either.

No man, people have a RIGHT to access service from a moneymaking organization for no fee or minimum balance even if there are free nonprofit community alternatives.

A bank should offer low interests, free checking, and easy credit for any American. The 99% is entitled to it.

you are talking about the 99% who paid taxes to bail their asses out right?


Of course! Coming from that little clown, what else do you expect? Guy manages to make himself look stupid every time he opens his mouth.
 
2014-02-07 02:53:38 AM

Lith: Who the fark uses checks anymore?

FFS it's 2014, stop using an 18th century method of payment.


I'm going through a legal thing with the ex. Proving that what she spent and what I spent was easy for the years we used checks. It becomes exponentially more difficult once we switched to the damned debit cards.

So I've gone back to using my checkbook for large expenses I want to document easily. I may never have a need for the documentation, but better safe than sorry.

/joint finances, never again
 
2014-02-07 02:54:17 AM

Mark Ratner: lindalouwho: Mark Ratner: Poor people problems. I can afford the fees, which by and large, are bullshiat. But I'll live. Banks are a business, are they not?

"Poor people problems"? Well aren't YOU special.

I am special. I own a BMW 318i and I'm pretty proud of it. I'm also a board member of my subdivision's HOA...thank you very much. I vote republican, and I go to church, so sue me. And I have a cat and a rescue dog. I am awesome.


We have very different ideas of what makes a person special and/or awesome. But that's ok, carry on.
 
2014-02-07 02:54:38 AM

diaphoresis: My business is a cash only transaction. I don't use banks. Don't have a need for banks. Except in Switzerland.


Koolaid story, Bro.
 
2014-02-07 02:56:20 AM

StopLurkListen: I've had a credit union account (two savings accounts and a credit card) since 1994, and it Suuuuuuuuuucks.

The website is still cutting edge 1994 geocities.

The credit card charges higher interest than my Chase, BofA or Citi cards.

Their mortgage and auto loans are higher interest than what I already have via other institutions.

But maybe having a credit union is like carbon offsets... You pay more, but you have that subjective feel-good experience, like somehow you're making something better somewhere?


Not all credit unions are created equal. The credit union I belong to has lower interest rates, free checking with no minimum balance, hell even the overdraft charges are only $5 per transaction. Yes, I've goofed a couple times and needed them to transfer money for me.

I'd shop around if I were you.
 
2014-02-07 02:57:22 AM

lindalouwho: Mark Ratner: lindalouwho: Mark Ratner: Poor people problems. I can afford the fees, which by and large, are bullshiat. But I'll live. Banks are a business, are they not?

"Poor people problems"? Well aren't YOU special.

I am special. I own a BMW 318i and I'm pretty proud of it. I'm also a board member of my subdivision's HOA...thank you very much. I vote republican, and I go to church, so sue me. And I have a cat and a rescue dog. I am awesome.

We have very different ideas of what makes a person special and/or awesome. But that's ok, carry on.


Actually, I'm full of bull shiat, and you seem nice. Carry on.
 
2014-02-07 02:57:27 AM

jso2897: diaphoresis: My business is a cash only transaction. I don't use banks. Don't have a need for banks. Except in Switzerland.

Koolaid story, Bro.


If you say so grrl
 
2014-02-07 02:57:56 AM
Yeah, BoA wanted to start charging me for a checking account back in 2008 before the clamp down on card fees. I guess to shore up the loses accrued from bad business practices. And this because they bought out the regional bank I signed up for.

I fired them. And Chase. And put my money in a CU. Die in a fire, Dimon, et al.
 
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