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Bank Fees Increasing

Written by Nickel - 21 Comments

Has your bank increased fees related to your checking or savings accounts? According to a recent blurb in Money Magazine, banks have turned to account maintenance fees, overdraft fees, etc. in an attempt to make up for recent losses in other areas.

“Recently, Bank of America boosted maintenance fees on certain checking accounts, Wachovia doubled its overdraft transfer fee, and Citibank raised foreign-transaction fees on debit cards.”

According to Bankrate’s Greg McBride, banks with the largest market share in your area are the most likely to increase fees. Thus, you can (hopefully) avoid trouble by using small, local banks or credit unions. Of course, you give up some convenience with a local outfit, as they have fewer ATMs, etc.

In our case, switching just isn’t worth the trouble — at least not yet. We use Bank of America for all of our local banking needs, and have yet to pay a fee. Despite all the negativity toward banks like BofA, we’ve found them to be both competent and convenient.

Sure, we don’t earn any interest on our checking account — this is effectively a fee — but we keep our balances there relatively low. In fact, we keep the bulk of our savings in an online savings account, though our BofA Money Market Account actually pays a decent rate.

What about you? Do you bank with one of the “big boys”? Have you seen a recent uptick in fees? Have you ever thought about switching to a different bank?

Published on August 21st, 2009 - 21 Comments
Filed under: Banking

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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21 Responses to “Bank Fees Increasing”

  1. 1
    Evolution Of Wealth Says:

    Bank of America now charges you $6 to walk into a branch and cash a Bank of America check if you don’t have an account with them.

  2. 2
    vga Says:

    I used to use BoA until they dinged me to death with bogus maintenance fees which they refused to refund.

    I pulled all my money out, closed my accounts and canceled by BoA credit card.

    I refuse to ever bank with them again unless there is just no other option.

    On a happier note, I love my credit union.

  3. 3
    Peter Says:

    I’m fee free with ING Direct. Like they say “Money Doesn’t Grow On Fees”!

  4. 4
    Daniel Says:

    You have to be careful with Bank of America, As long as you don’t change your accounts around and don’t overdraft, you will be fine. But Bank of America lacks serious ethics when it comes to banking. They do have a strong policy against giving back fees and one of my friends was forced to resign because he was giving back too many over draft fees. Mix that with Personal Bankers being pushed to open 2 or 3 checking accounts per person without giving them much of a choice, it is just not a respectable company.

    Course, this is what I only experienced working for them in orange county, SoCal

  5. 5
    Nickel Says:

    Daniel: It must vary by location, as the personal bankers at our local BofA branch have been nothing but helpful, and have even offered to waive the monthly fees on our business checking account so we don’t have to pay even if our avg daily balance slips below $3k. This could only be done 12 months at a time, but they said we could just call back every year and ask for a new waiver.

  6. 6
    Daniel Says:

    Yeah, that is easy to do because you can make an account a fee-less account for 12 months. I guess it was more based on management and their attempt to be #1 in sales (or accounts). I got actually shunned for putting a 12 month waiver on a customers account instead of closing out their checking account and opening a new one…

    Which ever, I’m happy; Credit Union + ING + Schwab Investor Checking = Synergy

  7. 7
    Nickel Says:

    Daniel: I’m not actually trying to defend BofA (in the grand scheme of things), or say that people should use them. We actually keep as little money with them as possible due to their abysmal interest rates, etc., but we do value the convenience associated of having a bank that is virtually everywhere. Beyond that, I just haven’t had the same negative experiences that many others seem to have had. This might be due, at least in part, to the fact that we live in a pretty small town, so the culture at our branch might be a bit different.

  8. 8
    Daniel Says:

    Oh I know your not specifically trying to defend them, and I also know that my opinion of them is very biased due to the branches that I have worked in and comments made by other people. Although I do question a lot of Bank of America’s sales tactics (though it might has changed because it has been 18 months since I worked there) I have heard good things from customers when I did work there. Mainly it was based on specific personal bankers compared to the bank as a whole. The manager I worked with the longest was very micomanaging, sales oriented, customer service avoiding type, and that was where most of my biased streamed from.

    Regardless, I always say this to anyone talking about banks vs credit unions vs whatever… If you’re happy, who cares what others think, why change banks from happy to unknown. If you are not happy, then go somewhere else.

    For a long time when we saw strong interest rates (like last year ago or so) I read a lot of financial blogs about different rates, 5%, then 6%, then 7%, etc, but I never understood people actually “chasing” them. It’s like someone constantly buying a car because of features not dependability…

    Sorry, I was kind of rambling, but besides my opinion, if you’re happy with Bank of America, then thats all that matters :)

  9. 9
    RB @ Financial Samurai Says:

    I just got notice from a bank where I have over $350,000 in CDs with that i’m going to start getting charged $15/month in 2010 if I don’t have at least $3,500 in checking with them!!

    Are you guys kidding me? Why would they nickle and dime me like that. I’m not keeping money in a checking account paying me 0.1% interest. The bank is First Republic Bank a boutique bank in California. They’re going to lose A LOT of customers if they do this.

    Rgds,

    RB

  10. 10
    Weldrev Says:

    The larger banks are essentially a haven for white collar crime. They are a joke and a complete embarrassment to this country. They will nickel and dime you to death……….if you let them.

  11. 11
    Chris Says:

    Its free to wire money to my BoA account, but they will fee me for the other way. I don’t have this prob with Schwab or FNBO direct.

  12. 12
    jan murphy Says:

    Well i have 2 accounts with bank of america but my daughter also had an account with them. She closed her account with them but they did not get the message i guess because every month they charged her a fee for having an open account with no money in it. so because we had listed her on our account in case of a simultaneous death. (we travel a lot) they would charge our accout with an overdraft fee since her which was closed had no money in it. It became such an ordeal, that she finally went down to the bank and demanded for them to refund us the fees accumulated from her closed account. They looked it up and sure enough, it was closed. guess what after about 500 dollars in fees on our account, they refunded us a whole 100 dollars because she did not come in an question what they were doing. I will probrably get a fee charged for just saying this. while i am at this could anyone tell this old lady how soon i could pay off a mortgage by paying an extra thousand a month with a rate of 5.75 on the mortgage and a balance of 171000. my brain is to empty to figure it out

  13. 13
    RB @ Financial Samurai Says:

    How do you guys like 36% government owned back Citibank, with its massive bailout money, pay one of their oil traders a $100 million bonus?!

    I ended up taking ALL my savings out of Citibank earlier this year, b/c I don’t stand for that kinda crappola!

    Best,

    RB

  14. 14
    Daniel Says:

    Government doesn’t own the banks… banks own the government

  15. 15
    Darin H Says:

    We’ve used BofA for 10+ years, I don’t think I’ve ever been charged a fee. We’re advantage members – solely because we have a brokerage account with them. Their interest rates are awful so we don’t keep more than just what we need monthly in checking and $500 in savings and have a couple of online savings accounts.

  16. 16
    The Biz of Life Says:

    I’ve been a BofA customer for a while through all the mergers and have never been hit with a fee. I’m not endorsing any bank in particular, but there is enough competition in this sector between online banks and brick and mortar banks that almost everyone should be able to find a bank that suits their needs without service charges.

  17. 17
    Frank Fitton Says:

    Overdraft fees have really gotten out of hand. The amount of money the banks make of these just floored me.

    The part that I hate is that they take out the biggest purchase first to try and hit you with as many fees as possible. If you have $100.00 in your account and make check card purchases of $10, $25, $40, $75. Instead of 1 overdraft fee, they hit you with 3. That’s just crazy.

    What’s really troubling is that these overdraft fees are affecting the people who can least afford it. Its not the upper class or even the middle class. 90% of the fees, come from 10% of the accounts.

    As soon as our goverment cuts down on one angle the banks got going, their just going to get their money somewhere else.

  18. 18
    Daniel Says:

    @Frank If course they will honor the largest transaction first. Larger transactions are more serious, but still, question if this is a tactic to benefit the merchant or the bank, I don’t know.

    Working in a bank I heard a lot of stories from people wanting their fees reversed. And in all honesty, I really have no sympathy for someone who uses their Debit card like a credit card and not actually manage their money. Then complain that their overdraft charge is $35 or so for each transaction. They think that the price is an outrage, yet it is their fault, and they were informed of the cost when opening the account.

    When you think of overdraft fees, what it is, is the bank putting up money to cover your costs. If someone would make a mistake once in a while, then I didn’t have a problem reversing the fees, but a lot of people are financial idiots.

    Not to mention they don’t seem to understand the concept of Overdraft Protection, usually offered by many banks. Where my banks over a credit line, and BofA offers (in my opinion, but still something) linking it to a savings account or credit card. Every bank has some sort of protection, and a lot of people don’t activate it or research it.

    You might want to blame the banks, but it is the customers fault majority of the time. And of course the customers will go whine to the government, who will mandate more crap on banks… it’s sad…

    /rant

  19. 19
    Sarah Says:

    Ha – try five years with my bank and all of a sudden in May of ‘09 they decide to take $20/mo in fees because we don’t have $15000 balance in the account. This is a fee free account since ‘04. It took four months for me to find because the hubby thought I was overdrafting! Men and banks!

  20. 20
    DDFD at DivorcedDadFrugalDad Says:

    Not surprising– the friendly banker isn’t so friendly anymore . . .

  21. 21
    Phinneas Pherb Says:

    Bank of America BoA changed the format / layout of their monthly statements, in July 2013.

    It seems that nothing is without a hidden agenda. In tandem with this change, BoA sent a subsequent notice to all customers that they were (once again) altering they way debits and credits would be processed. While this only adds further confusion to most customers who (presumably) do not have a degree in accounting or finance, the true agenda within the banking industry is to generate MORE FEES from their loyal customer base … specifically OVERDRAFT fees.

    Redesigning the statement (specifically, taking it out of chronological / sequential order) only results in making it all the more difficult for banking customers to track incidents which result in overdraft, NSF and other such issues.

    I had no issues with the prior format of their monthly banking statement. In fact, their move to a “dumbed-down” format … and WITHOUT my consent to choose a preferred format … only further insults me and others who continually try to sort through their smoke-and-mirror policies and thereby avoid the pitfalls of banking when an overabundance of income is not the norm.

    Back in 2011, BoA altered their practice of processing “high-to-low” amounts, stating it was intended to “reduce overdrafts” for customers. http://www.creditcards.com/cre.....t-1271.php

    It would seem their latest actions as of Q2/Q3 2013 will only result in negating the aforementioned and cause more grief for their customers.

    Here is another supporting article from 2012 titled Are banks manipulating your transactions to charge you an overdraft fee: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ha.....draft-fee/

    Here’s the official letter from Bank of America, included with one’s August 2013 statement. You’ll likely need to be logged in, to access this web address:

    https://secure.bankofamerica.com/content/documents/CG2/inserts/deposit/en_us/DP-043425.pdf

    Excerpt:
    Changes to your account services
    October: Changes to how your transactions are posted

    Whatâ??s changing and when?
    In October 2013, weâ??re changing the order in which we post transactions to your account.

    Today we post most transactions in order of highest to lowest dollar amount.
    Beginning in October, many debit transactions, such as debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals, will generally post in the order you make them. In addition, many checks will post in check number order. See the table to the right to learn more about how the new posting order works.

    Hereâ??s when the new posting order will take effect in your state.
    October 4: FL, GA, NC, SC, VA
    October 11: AZ, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, MO, NM, OK, OR, TN, TX, WA
    October 18: CA, CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, MI, NH, NJ, NV, NY, PA, RI

    How does the new posting order affect me?
    The new posting order wonâ??t affect you if thereâ??s enough available money in your account every day. But if thereâ??s not enough available money, the new posting order may change the number of overdraft fees you incur.

    Changes to your overdraft policy:
    Starting November 8, weâ??re increasing the maximum number of “Overdraft” or “NSF: Returned Item Fees” that can be charged in a day from four to eight on your Small Business account.

    In summary, bank fees at BoA are on the rise again, despite their prior campaign to reduce overdraft fees for their valued customers.

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