For the third year in a row, free checking is on the decline. With just 39 percent of noninterest checking accounts being free, many Americans have gotten a letter from their bank introducing fees to their once free accounts. Bankrate.com asked Americans how much it would take to get them to start shopping around for a new checking account. Here's what they said.
Man on the street soundbites:
"They recently started charging us $15 a month in fees and we're in the process of closing that account."
"$5 a month, I guess, isn't really that bad. But anything $10, $15 a month or a minimum balance. I feel like it's a checking account, you should be able to keep what you want in there."
"If I was charged $5 a month, I'd probably move banks."
"At least $20 a month, $10 dollars a month depending on the incentives they offer. Some banks will give you incentives for ATM use and they might if you use an off-site ATM maching, they'll reimburse you so it covers the fee. But at the end of the day, no one wants to pay for their checking account."
"Once someone started charging me I would move ... for the privilege of having my money there, yes."
"I actually got that letter in the mail from Suntrust, my current bank and they had a thing where you set up an account and have a minimum balance that I could keep so I don't have to have that fee. But if there was no way to get around that fee, I would have moved banks in a second."
"I have a mortgage and a line of credit with a bank, so free checking comes along with it. If they didn't value that other business enough to give me free checking, I'd probably go take the whole can of worms somewhere else."
If you've had it with fees at your bank, you can always shop for a new account and compare features and fees right here at Bankrate.com. I'm Lucas Wysocki.