FOSTER CITY, Calif. – Two more studies have found banks are increasing checking charges while CUs continue to hold the line on free checking.

That conclusion is apparent when looking at two separate studies, including one released earlier this month by Bankrate.com that showed there has been virtually no drop-off in the number of CUs offering free checking in 2012 (Credit Union Journal, Aug. 14). A new MoneyRates.com semi-annual study of banking costs across the country likewise indicates the fee environment worsened for bank customers in virtually every way possible in the first half of the year.

Overall, banks increased the minimum to open an account to $408.76, up from $391.41 in the previous study. Monthly service fees ($12.08) increased from $11.28. The minimum balance for fee waiver ($4,446.57) jumped up from $3,590.83. Overdraft fees ($29.83) rose slightly from $29.23. And the percentage of accounts offering free checking (35.3%) dropped from 38.8%.

The Bankrate.com study shows that 72% of the nation’s 50 largest credit unions offer free checking accounts without a minimum balance requirement.


 

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