Checking accounts affected by new bank fees

San Francisco Consumers Union Senior Attorney Gail Hillebrand says that the new bank rule that require customers to maintain a minimum amount of credit in their checking accounts will surely affect bank clients or customers. He adds that the minimum maintaining balance must not be spent or withdrawn or else credit holders of checking accounts will be charged. With this, Hillebrand asserts owners of well-managed checking accounts—no matter how low the amount of balance they keep—will be the most affected in this set-up.

Raddon Financial Group vice president for research and product development Bill Handel adds that other more groups will be affected by the new bank rules. In general, customers will now experience changes in the way they manage their checking accounts. In the past, they are entitled to free checking in their respective banks. This is due to the banks’ goals of enticing more customers to avail of other services offered. The free checking accounts were often inclusive online payment of bills, rewards in debit cards, and printing of checks which are all free of any charges.

Senior financial analyst Greg McBride affirms that there will indeed be changes with the checking accounts in the succeeding couple of quarters to a year. He adds that free checking accounts in the past may now likely have additional service requirements like availing of other bank choices provided for checking account management. Checking account add-ons and related programs may then be used as requisites for maintaining free checking. McBride adds that banks may also send out notices of payment changes by introducing a basic fee or charge per month on their customers. He notes HSBC North America, which already shifted their free checking to accounts inclusive of monthly fees.

Both Handel and McBride point to the need for banks to get revenues in the face of legal restraints on what they can do with the credit, the interest rates, and the overdraft fees charged to their customers. As a consequence, both Handel and McBride think that it is likely for banks not only to require minimum balance in the credit of checking account holders. They also say that the minimum balance requirement may be raised depending on the bank. Checking account owners in the past had not been charged due to the maintenance of credits well above the minimum requirement, now the banks are looking at the possibility of making minimum credit balances high.

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