Tags: Wells | Fargo | Checking | seven | dollars

Wells Fargo Launches $7 Checking Accounts

Thursday, 08 March 2012 12:04 PM

Free checking will soon become a thing of the past in at least six states for Wells Fargo customers.

The bank is set to charge $7 a month for checking account customers in mainly Western states, although the bank wouldn't say which ones.

In 2010, the bank said new checking account customers wouldn't enjoy free checking and the latest move now applies to existing customers.

Customers can waive the fee by maintaining a $1,500 minimum daily balance or making direct deposits of $500 or more each month, CNNMoney reports.

Customers can also get a $2 discount on the fee by opting to only receive online statements.

"This has been a gradual change — we've notified many customers that this change would be happening, and this is another extension of that," a Wells Fargo spokeswoman told CNNMoney.

While the bank wouldn't confirm which states would be affected, Wells Fargo customers in New York and Georgia told CNNMoney their Wells Fargo statements warned that a new $7 fee would be applied to their accounts.

Bank of America, meanwhile, may slap fresh fees on customers that don't bank online, buy enough goods and services or maintain balances.

Low benchmark interest rates, slow growth and regulatory uncertainty is prompting the bank to find revenue wherever they can, even if it means charging checking-account holders.

Bank of America pilot programs in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts are experimenting with charging $6 to $9 a month for an "Essentials" account.

"It is unclear whether the bank, which counts more than 55 million U.S. households as customers, will stick with its initial idea for a basic flat-fee checking account that doesn't offer a way to avoid paying a charge," The Wall Street Journal reported recently.

"That scenario is considered less likely than telling checking-account customers they will face a new fee unless they go online or take other steps outlined by the bank."

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