Bankrate.com’s annual survey of bank fees is out. Get ready to not be surprised:
The average monthly maintenance fee for a non-interest-bearing checking account rose to a record $5.48, up 25 percent from 2011, according to the survey. The average balance required on non-interest-bearing accounts to avoid that fee is a record $723, up 23 percent. [Emph. added]
I’m not going out on a limb if I point out that a 25% annual increase in anything counts as a lot. It now costs more than $65 annually, on average, to maintain a checking account if you can’t or won’t maintain a minimum balance of $723. All this because the government has basically declared war on NSF charges, which were the funding mechanism that once allowed banks to profitably offer their customers checking accounts for free. Low-income consumers must be awfully grateful to the lawmakers, regulators, and consumer advocates who worked so hard to make this wonderful new state of consumer banking to come about. . . .