Free checking is on the way out in 2011, while the banking industry ushered in increases in checking account fees, ATM charges and penalties for account overdrafts.
This is the banking landscape revealed by Bankrate’s 2011 Checking Account Survey.
Just 45 percent of noninterest checking accounts are now free, down from the peak of 76 percent just two years ago. However, banks still will offer free checking for meeting conditions such as signing up for direct deposit.
New records were set in two categories in this year’s study. Fees for nonsufficient funds, or overdrafts, hit a new high for the 13th consecutive year, while ATM fees rose to their highest level for the seventh consecutive year. To find out what to do about them, check out Bankrate’s Checking Account Survey.
Bankrate’s data come from surveying the five largest banks and five largest thrifts in 25 of the nation’s biggest markets from Aug. 1-12, 2011. The survey asked those institutions about the terms on one generic noninterest account and one interest-bearing account for the general consumer.
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