7.10.2010

Thinking of Opening An Account at Wells Fargo? No More Free Checking

We opened an account with Wells Fargo years ago when we lived in Northern Minnesota and we've kept it as a secondary checking account and use it as what we call our 'vacation' account. It was easy to keep it open and transfer money to it and use it because with online banking I didn't physically have to be in Northern Minnesota and secondly - it was free.

No more!

Hitting Reuters yesterday was this little article that I almost missed when reading the news so I wanted to be sure to let my readers know. Even with a $5 or $10 fee a month for having a checking account it's still a raw deal and cuts into the budget for a lot of people. Here is the article so you can read for yourself; older accounts are fine but new accounts will not be free anymore.

Wells Fargo & Co will no longer offer free checking for all new customers opening accounts at the bank, a company spokeswoman told Reuters on Friday.

The San Francisco-based bank -- one of the largest U.S. consumer banks -- introduced a $5 monthly fee for its basic checking account service on July 1, eliminating two kinds of free, basic account services the company previously offered.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Julia Tunis Bernard said the move will only affect a small percentage of new customers, as most new accounts open what the company calls "checking packages," or a bundle of banking services.

The change will not affect existing customer accounts or Wachovia Bank customers.

New customers can have the fee waived by maintaining a $1,500 average daily account balance, or having a monthly direct deposit transaction of $250 or more.

The move comes as Bank of America Corp and other major U.S. banks are examining reinstituting account fees and other service charges as financial reform has curbed overdraft charges and other sources of non=interest income.