Free Checking – Headed Into Hibernation?

We assume free checking is and will always be, well, free. But that age may be ending, at least for some customers. Which banks might be going “freeless”? According to the New York Times:

Wells Fargo: As of July 1, the bank is no longer offering its “free checking,” or no monthly fee, account product to new customers. Instead, new customers will either have to pay a monthly service fee or meet certain requirements like a minimum balance requirement to have the fee waived (the change does not affect customers who had the account before July 1).

Citibank: Last November, the bank announced it was removing certain waivers from its EZ Checking and Access Checking packages.

Fifth Third Bank: Discontinued sales of free checking to new customers last September, though existing holders of the account weren’t affected.

Bank of America: The bank is testing new pricing models but spokesmen wouldn’t go into details.

Seems like bigger banks are starting the trend. Will local and community banks follow? Will free checking end entirely? Only time will tell.

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