Dow Jones Newswires-Wall Street Journal | Bank of America Corp. and other banks are preparing new fees on basic banking services as they try to replace revenue lost to regulatory rules, in a push that is expected to spell an end to free checking accounts for many Americans.
Free checking accounts, which have been widely available for more than a decade, have been a boon to middle-class consumers and attracted low-income customers to the banking system for the first time.
Customers will likely be required to pay new monthly maintenance fees on the most basic accounts that don’t generate a lot of activity. To avoid a fee, customers will have to maintain certain account balances or frequently use other banking services, such as credit and debit cards, automated teller machines and online accounts.
“If you put $1,000 in a checking account and don’t do anything with it, it will be hard to get that for free,” says Sherief Meleis, a managing director at Novantas LLC, a consulting firm that advises banks.