It’s getting more expensive to have a checking account. The monthly fee on Bank of America’s necessary My Access checking account rose this week to $12, from the previous $8.95. And more changes are in store for clients of the country’s largest bank. Clients with the My Access account can still shun the monthly fee by setting up a monthly direct deposit of at least $250 or upholding a balance of $1,500. The bank says clients were notified of the fee hike earlier this year.
Another option that avoid the fee increase is the e-banking account, which requires clients to do their banking online and opt for electronic statements. Bank of America introduced the e-banking option last summer ahead of a new menu of accounts scheduled for a countrywide crush by the end of the year. In January the bank began testing checking accounts with a variety of fee options in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts. Fees differ depending on the state, but range from $6 to $25.
Bank of America says its fee hike echo’s the greater services it is providing, such as spending alerts and mobile banking. But the move is also in line with the industry’s pullback on free checking. The accessibility of free checking accounts with no strings attached shrank last year for the first time since 2003. Only 65 percent of checking accounts were free, down from 76 percent in 2009, courtesy of msnbc.
The abridged accessibility comes as a new rule is set to dramatically limit the revenue banks collect from checking accounts. The rule, which was passed as part of the financial repair last year, will cap the fees banks can collect from merchants whenever customers swipe their debit cards. Banks say the move could slash the $16 billion in fees they collect by as much as much as 90 percent.