Free checking in decline

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Editor’s note: This is a transcript of the audio file. has released their annual checking account survey. Are your fees going up or down? I’m Kristin Arnold with your personal finance minute.

Greg McBride, senior financial analyst with is here. Greg, what did the survey find in regards to availability of free checking?

“The decline of free checking is in full swing. Just 45 percent of non-interest accounts are now free. That’s down significantly from the peak of 76 percent just two years ago.”

And are there ways to avoid fees?

Yes, and this is the good news. Even though free accounts are declining, fee waivers are on the rise. 92 percent of non-interest accounts are either free or can become free, and that’s up from last year. Very similar trend on interest checking accounts – only the threshold to avoid the fees is much higher.

To read more on the 2011 Checking Account Survey or to compare checking accounts in your area, just visit I’m Kristin Arnold.

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