Banks Swap Some Fees for Others

The following post is from Madison of My Dollar Plan and Kids and Money at about.com:

source: ell brown

Did recent legislation eliminate the fees from banking? Not quite. Amanda, a staff writer at My Dollar Plan, shares her findings:

Between the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the financial industry in the United States has gone through some major spring cleaning in the last year.

Some fees they have had to cap at a much lower price than they would have chosen for themselves — like the transaction fee, overdraft fees, fees that can be charged for method of payment (such as over the phone versus online), and some fees are now prohibited all together, such as charging interest on credit card transaction fees and double cycle billing.

Now that credit card companies and banks have had their hands slapped, they are beginning to test the waters in charging customers and non-customers in other areas in order to fill the financial void left by these new laws.

New Fees

Free bill pay, free access to the ATM, free checks and free checking accounts has practically become a right in the United States. But both Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase have begun to charge customers tiered fees for these free services in certain markets. If all goes well, they plan to roll out the new fees in other areas. HSBC will be converting some of their checking accounts to fee accounts, and charging up to $15. Wells Fargo eliminated free checking on July 1, 2010 for new bank accounts, but has continued to honor free checking for existing bank accounts.

Other new fees include Bank of America’s charge of $3 for paper copies of your canceled checks along with your statement and a charge for fraud alerts.

Raised Fees

Chase is the most recent bank to announce an increase in ATM fees for non-customers from a few dollars to $5 in Texas and Illinois. They claim to be testing the market before rolling out the increase nationwide.

Industry-wide, the average cost of cash advances and balance transfer fees rose from 3% to 4% according to the Pew Health Group’s Safe Credit Cards Project. Annual fees have risen from an average of $50 to $59 for banks and from $15 to $25 for credit unions.

Fewer Rewards

Both JP Morgan Chase and PNC Bank will no longer offer debit card rewards for basic debit accounts. Our personal experience with our credit card has been a reduction in rewards. My Citibank Premier card will no longer award me one point per each mile flown.

Have you noticed a change in your bank account, debit, or credit cards?

Madison DuPaix is a mom to three young children with a background in finance and insurance. She loves retirement planning and taxes, and recently started her own tax business. Madison is the author of My Dollar Plan and is the guide to Kids and Money at about.com.