Banks are either quietly adding new account fees or increasing some that already exist on transactions that are not as high profile as, say, debit-card transactions.
The New York Times reports that although banks are still making money off most checking accounts, they lost income (approximately $12 billion annually, according to the Times) when federal regulation went into effect limiting the amount banks can collect from merchants every time someone pays with a debit card.
Big banks may have scaled back plans for debit-card fees, but other, less high-profile charges are proliferating. Bank of America, the second biggest bank in the U.S., was recently the last bank to scrap plans for a $5 monthly debit card fee, after public uproar over the proposed new fees.
Some examples of new fees and ramped up charges:
- Bank of America now charges $5 to replace a lost debit card. $20 if you want the card rush delivered.
- Citigroup now charges $10 a month for basic checking accounts, up from $8.
- TD Bank will charge $15 for wire transfers, starting in December. TD Bank also has a new $9-per-withdrawal charge for excessive savings account withdrawals (excluding ATM and teller withdrawals).
- U.S. Bancorp now charges 50 cents a check for deposits made by photographing checks with a mobile phone.
In addition, banks are also raising the minimum balances required for free checking in some accounts, and adding other criteria that consumers need to meet to qualify for certain fees to be waived, according to the Times, which stated the following:
Even the much-maligned debit usage charges have effectively been bundled into higher monthly fees on checking accounts. Bank of America abandoned its $5 a month debit-card usage fee in late October amid a firestorm of criticism. Yet, it more quietly raised the cost of its basic MyAccess checking account by more than $3 a month earlier this year. Monthly maintenance fees now run $12 a month, up from $8.95.