Can I keep my no-fee checking account?


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Dear Dr. Don,
Can my new bank change my checking account fees? The bank I used to do business with was sold to another bank. The new bank tells me they don’t have to recognize the old bank’s lifetime no-fee, free checking account offer or guarantee. Is there a consumer protection law to prevent this from happening?

— Rod Roughshod

Dear Rod,
A lifetime guarantee of no-fee checking was only good for the bank’s lifetime, not yours. Now, there’s a new bank in charge. To my knowledge, there is no consumer protection law preventing the new bank from charging you based on its own fee schedule.

If you’re unhappy with the latest fee schedule, then my recommendation is for you to consider doing business elsewhere. Sure, it’s a hassle to switch your automatic payments and credits, and to learn the new bank’s bill payment options.

As for other options, if you’re eligible to join a credit union, it can offer low-cost banking services. Also, see if there are other banks that are able to provide the kind of accounts, including fee structures, that you desire.

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