Since the late 1990s, Todd Konold has never paid for a checking account.
“I’m so used to not paying, we’ve taken it for granted” said Konold.
But that could soon change. Banks looking for additional revenue may soon drop free checking accounts.
“Maybe I’ll use more cash,” said Konold.
Federal regulatory changes are getting the blame. Banks are now limited to what they can charge on credit cards, late fees and other services. To make up for the loss, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Citibank are looking at ways to bring back maintenance fees on basic checking accounts.
“If certain fees are no longer feasible they are going to turn elsewhere to generate revenue,” said San Diego State University finance professor David Ely.
The checking accounts are certainly one source for the banks to bring in extra money.
Geri LaChance with North Island Credit Union says community banks and credit unions will be slower to adopt the same policy but admits, eventually everyone may have to look at charging for checking.
“The changes with the recent legislation could make free check go away and it’s a shame for the consumers,” said LaChance.
Customers with multiple accounts with the same bank may be able to avoid paying for their checking account if they meet certain minimum standards. But the poorest customers may not be able to avoid that fee.
“It obviously will impact the consumer of more modest means because they just have less to spend on a monthly basis,” said LaChance.