Free checking used to be common at banks, but new laws limiting overdraft and interchange fees have forced banks to add fees to checking accounts, says Denise Winston, a blogger on personal finance and founder of MoneyStartHere.com.
Some banks still provide free checking, but it's only available if customers keep a high balance in the account. Because banks review and change their fees each year, it's worth asking each year how to get a free checking account. If you open a new account, be sure to read the fine print.
"Banks, in particular, are notorious for either handing you an unreadable booklet that constitutes disclosure or tells you where you can find these rules should you want to read them," Lipka says.