[Begin VIDEO with Kristin Arnold introducing the video topic]
Kristin Arnold: Bankrate.com has released its annual Checking Account study and here to discuss some of the findings is Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com.
[Cut to a double screen of Kristin Arnold and Greg McBride]
Kristin: What is the latest with free checking accounts?
Greg: The decline in free checking is in full swing. Just 45% of non-interest accounts are now free. That's down from 65% last year, and the peak of 76% just two years ago.
Kristin: Are there ways to avoid the fees?
Greg: There are…and that's the good news. Even though free checking is on the decline, fee waivers are on the rise. For example, non-interest accounts ... and additional 47% of accounts offer the ability to get that fee waived most commonly through direct deposit. So, 92% of non-interest accounts are either free or can become free ... and that's up from last year. Very similar on the interest accounts, however, the threshold to get the fees waived is much higher. You typically have to keep a pretty significant balance either at the bank or specifically within the checking account.
[Cut to one shot of Kristin on camera]
Kristin: Alright, some great information to help consumers avoid these fees. Thanks Greg. To see more of Bankrate.com's annual Checking Account study and to search for free checking accounts in your area, go to Bankrate.com.
[END VIDEO CLIP]