Jan 8, 2011

The death of free checking

15 years ago I opened my first account with Chase Bank. Back then they were called First Chicago Bank and located on Lake St in downtown Oak Park. Even at that early age (I was in middle school) I remember loving the friendliness of the bank staff and the fact that their accounts didn't carry any fees or minimums. Quite a few years have past... including some names changes... first Bank One and then Chase... but I'm now finding myself nostalgic for the magic that was Bank One.

Yesterday I received a call from a banker alerting me that they would be launching new changes effective February 8th, affecting ALL customers, new and old. Since I'm living in SC while my husband finishes out his military contract going into a branch wasn't possible (how in the hell does SC not have ONE freaking Chase in the entire state!!!) so he proceeded to give me the devastating news over the phone: Chase Basic Checking is dead... Get ready for Chase Total Checking... and the monthly fee that comes along with it.

In order to not be subject to the monthly fee of $6 you must either:

1. Have a direct deposit of at least $500 or more
2. Keep a minimum daily balance of $1500 in your account
3. Keep an average balance of $5000 combined in all of your accounts
4. Pay $25 or more in fees a month (which is crazy to me because this includes overdraft fees, etc... for those that are already not managing their funds correctly)

I was instantly pissed because I'm not working right now and thus not getting any direct deposits... nor do I have $5k sitting around collecting dust. A basic checking that was void of any fees is one of the things I loved about Chase. Now that they're introducing all of these new fees it's pissing me off... I have numerous accounts with them and loathe the fact that I'll have to  pay a fee to keep an account. I almost want to pull all of my money out and tell them to kiss my ass... but where would I go? Bank of America? The fees they charge have been next level for quite some time... $6/month per account doesn't seem like much, but it's giving out $ where I didn't have to before.

Is anyone else out there feeling my pain?


afreshmusic said...

Yes I'm feeling the pinch as well! My first bank account was actually with the Citi Bank. I ran from them and all their fee's realizing that was the bank for people with some money and I had none.

I went to WaMu and who buys my bank? Chase. So I'm already at a place I didn't want to be anyway. Now the end of free checking hurts me more now than when I first opened an account with Citi. Crap, I still don't have money for all those fees.

What can you do? I checked like you and their fees is still lower than their competitors. I'm like Rev. Jesse Jackson...I just want to cut their nuts off. o_O

ShellyShell said...

I have B of A. I don't love them but I keep them because they don't charge a fee. I believe it's because I have direct deposit. I believe that Capital One has free checking as long as you have direct deposit OR use the debit card twice a month. I have a Capital One CC but I'm thinking of moving my money to them. I guess it's worth a try.

Toni said...

Since you married military, you may want to try USAA. They have free checking and great bank from home options. One of my friends has all of her accounts and car insurance and she says they have the best customer service she's ever encountered.

T said...

This sucks. I have workplace checking though, so it's free if I do something (can't remember what, but I must do it every month because they don't charge me any fees). It also comes with two free non-Chase ATM withdrawals, which is very convenient.

You may want to consider getting direct deposit from one of your other accounts into your Chase account (so not a payroll deposit) to keep it open.

If not, maybe consider Wells Fargo or another southern bank chain.

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