Bank of America is the latest bank to make the terms and fees of its checking accounts easier to understand.
This week, Bank of America announced a revised Checking Clarity program, which will condense fee and policy information into a two-page format. If you're a regular reader, you're probably familiar with the movement to simplify disclosures. A 2011 study conducted by Pew Charitable Trusts revealed that the nation's biggest banks have some pretty long disclosure forms, with an average length of 69 pages. Over the past year, Pew has been urging the banking industry to adopt a one-page model that outlines fees and conditions.
It's no secret that plenty of consumers have been very upset with Bank of America over the past year. After its failed attempt to charge a $5 fee for debit cards, BofA became the most talked-about bank in the country -- and not for good reasons.
However, this announcement is something all consumers can celebrate. It means you won't struggle to understand how overdraft fees and minimum balance requirements work before you open a new account. Instead of sifting through a novel of banking language, you'll be able to get the big picture of an account within a few minutes.
Bank of America joins five other big banks that have heeded the call for clearer checking terms: Citibank, Capital One, Fifth Third, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and TD Bank. A number of small credit unions have also adopted Pew's recommendations. As more financial institutions edit their mile-long documents into a format that most consumers can understand, comparing checking accounts will be a much more efficient process.
Have you had any trouble comparing checking accounts due to overwhelming information? Do you think there other elements of banking that should be simplified?