Many bank customers feel so strongly about the value of free checking they're willing to walk if their bank introduces new checking fees. In fact, a Bankrate survey conducted as part of the Financial Security Index in March revealed 64 percent of bank customers would switch banks to avoid fees.
But before you walk out the door and spend the time and effort it takes to move your account to a new bank, it might be worth taking a minute to talk to your banker about how you can avoid checking account fees, says Ray Soifer, a banking industry analyst and consultant based in Green Valley, Ariz.
"Many banks will be willing to give free checking if you maintain other accounts with them and/or if you use direct deposit checks or pension checks," says Soifer.
Switching to a checking account with fewer features may also be a way to save on fees at your existing financial institution.
"Particularly in this pricing environment, make sure you really need the services you're paying the fee for," says Soifer.
-- Claes Bell