THE BANKING INDUSTRY PREPARES TO TICK OFF ITS CUSTOMERS YET AGAIN
BofA’s new $5 monthly debit card fee is getting all the attention, but banks sure aren’t being shy about boosting their existing fees, as well:
Banks are also slowly abandoning “free” checking accounts, although you can still avoid fees by arranging for direct deposit or keeping a minimum balance in your account. For non-interest-bearing accounts, the average monthly fee is $4.37, up from $2.49 last year, and the balance needed to avoid it is averages at $585, more than double the $249 balance from a year ago.
For interest-bearing accounts, the average fee jumped to $14.15 from $13.04 last year. The balance needed to avoid the fee rose to $5,587, from $3,883 – although increasingly, the balance may be spread over other accounts at the bank, not necessarily within the checking account. [Emph. added]
Good lord. My calculator tells me that the average monthly checking account fee is up by 75% from a year ago, while the minimum balance required to avoid that fee is up by 135%. Those are serious price hikes. Customers will not be happy–especially since so many of them have gotten used to paying nothing at all for a checking account. Is the consensus view that retail banks will see a lot of customer turnover in the coming 12 months? If it’s not, it should be. . . .