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Big Banks Are in a Fee Feeding Frenzy
Posted By Ron On September 25, 2012 @ 1:14 PM In Banking | Comments Disabled
I saw a news clip today about a Bankrate survey on banking fees. It appears that the big banks are in a fee feeding frenzy because of recently passed legislation that makes it more difficult for them to generate a profit.
Those free checking accounts that were so prolific just a few years ago? Many are now gone. Just three years ago 75% of all banks offered free checking accounts. Today that number is closer to 45% for the big banks … and it’s still going down. Those that do offer free checking accounts make multiple demands on how you use or access your money: minimum balances, direct deposits, and debit card use.
Even with accounts that offer free checking, big banks are still fee happy. Those that aren’t charging a regular monthly fee are hitting us up with massive NSF charges, balance minimums as high as $5,000, out of network  ATM fees of up to $5, and all while paying dismal interest rates on your savings account  or your “interest checking” account.
The problem? You won’t do it … at least that’s what the survey showed. People claim that high bank fees would irritate them enough to switch banks but few ever do. When you threaten to close your account and switch, banks know you’re bluffing. Switching banks can be a pain in the neck unless you do it right. That’s why I wrote How To Switch Banks in Six Easy Steps . It really is easy and you can do it!
Which bank should you switch to?
My three favorites:
PerkStreet  has debit card rewards for its customers. While the big banks are charging you, PerkStreet  is rewarding you. They have no fee checking, very low fees all around, and tens of thousands of ATMs. PerkStreet  doesn’t yet offer a savings account , but it’s on the horizon.
ING is KNOWN for having a no fee approach and that’s why they’ve grown so much. Get this: even their NSF fees are ridiculously low. Overdraw your account by $100 for 10 days and you’ll pay a fee of just 31 cents … vs $30 at the big banks. ING also offers a fantastic savings account  that pays interest rates higher than most.
Ally also has both savings and checking accounts and works to improve the overall customer experience with their reduced fee model and plain, common sense policies.
The BIG question:
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