BofA Eliminates Free Checking Accounts, Upsetting Customers

Bank of America (BofA) recently announced that they are eliminating their free checking accounts which did not go down well with Bank of America customers who went online to voice their disapproval. Those who used to have free accounts have been shuffled to accounts that charge a $12 monthly fee.

These account holders do not need to pay the monthly $12 fee, if they receive $250 in deposits each month or maintain a daily balance of $1,500.

This move from Bank of America formally ends the free checking account program that the bank introduced back in 2010.

WUSA9

The original checking account was called an eBanking account and was offered for free as long as the customer did their business either via an ATM or online. An additional $8.95 fee was charged every month if they wanted to get a monthly statement by mail or did business by a teller. The bank stopped offering this account option back in 2015, but the existing accounts were grandfathered in. Bank of America decided that it was time to scrap these accounts and transfer former account holders to standard checking accounts.

This sudden change has caused a lot of anger online. Several people have gone on Twitter and said that they will be closing their accounts with Bank of America. Others have joined the existing Change.org petition, which has managed to garner more than 100,000 signatures so far.

The main complaint against this move is that Bank of America has decided to eliminate a free banking option that many poor families depend on. A checking account is an essential requirement when cashing a paycheck and placing a monthly $12 fee is excessive especially for economic backward families.

Studies show that economic backward families often have to pay more banking fees than their more affluent counterparts. Some find the fees too much, which is the main reason why 59% of US families earning under $30,000 a year do not have a checking account.

Bank of America’s response is tepid at best. In a statement, Bank of America had this to say:

Our Core Checking account provides full access to all our financial centers, ATMs, mobile and online banking and offers several ways to avoid a monthly fee, including a monthly direct deposit of $250. This is one of the lowest qualifiers in the industry and a great value

The statement further says that those looking for a lower-priced option can opt to use a SafeBalance account that only charges $4.95 a month, with all the standard features and no overdrafts.


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