Personal Finance Advice and Commentary

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 6:05 am
By Greg McBride, CFA ·

Free checking is getting scarcer, but you can find it if you know where to look.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 12:21 pm
By Claes Bell, CFA ·

Credit unions aren’t wasting any time exploiting the national mood over new checking fees to drive up membership. Last week the Credit Union National Association, an industry trade group, put out a press release touting credit unions’ free checking offerings. From the release: “We want consumers to know they can fight back against big banks

Sunday, September 18, 2011 6:00 am
By Claes Bell, CFA ·

With debit card fees on the rise, it looks like checking accounts and banking relationships are going to start getting a little more attention from consumers. After all, if there’s one thing Americans hate, it’s being charged for something that used to be free. Sure, we don’t mind buying something “premium” that used to be

Saturday, September 03, 2011 12:30 pm
By David McMillin ·

If you’ve been complaining about bank fees, it turns out that you’re in the minority. A new survey from the American Bankers Association shows that 71 percent of account holders aren’t paying a dime for their banking services.  The survey, conducted by market research firm Ipsos Public Affairs, asked more than 2,000 adults how much

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 3:49 pm
By Claes Bell, CFA ·

It seems like every week brings another member of the banking industry’s “Too Big to Fail” club announcing they’re killing off free checking and introducing new fees. Plenty of consumers will probably just pay up, but if you’re looking for a refuge from fees, smaller institutions are still an option. For example, in this year’s

Thursday, January 13, 2011 10:55 am
By Claes Bell, CFA ·

Looks like small banks and credit unions might be more likely to keep free checking accounts around than large banks, thanks to a loophole in last year’s Dodd-Frank financial reform bill. The law caps debit interchange fees, the fees banks charge merchants to process debit card transactions, but only for banks with over $10 billion

Thursday, December 30, 2010 6:00 am
By Claes Bell, CFA ·

The Fed recently proposed new limits on how much banks can charge merchants for debit card transactions, which could be the final nail in the coffin for debit card rewards and free checking accounts. The rules would limit banks with assets over $10 billion to a flat, 12 cent fee per transaction, an amount closer to

Wednesday, December 01, 2010 9:30 am
By Marcie Geffner ·

Banks are raising fees and doing away with free checking accounts, according to’s 2010 Checking Study, an annual survey of banks’ checking account offerings. In case you missed the study when it was published back in October, here’s what you should absolutely know about current trends in banking: • Free checking. Sixty-five percent of

Thursday, October 28, 2010 3:20 pm
By Claes Bell, CFA ·

This week Bankrate released its 2010 Checking Study, and it turns out a number of banks are phasing out free checking by introducing minimum balances or monthly maintenance fees. This shift away from free checking may be due in part to new Fed rules requiring customers to opt in for overdraft protection on debit cards

Monday, July 26, 2010 8:00 am
By Marcie Geffner ·

How much does your checking account cost? Is it free? Or do you pay $5, $10 or $15 per month? The answer, according to the American Bankers Association, or ABA, isn’t zero. Nor is it between $60 and $180 per year. In fact, the ABA says, the annual cost of a checking account is actually

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