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Monday, December 27, 2010

Not So Free Checking: New Fees found in "notice of change in terms and conditions"





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Due to recent federal regulations, banks and credit unions may have a more difficult time collecting fees from consumers when they overdraw on their accounts. To make up for that lost revenue, they may resort to charging new fees on accounts that have traditionally been free. Consumers are reporting fees for account inactivity, balance transfers, ATM transactions, low balances and monthly account maintenance fees.

A recent survey by bankrate.com found that 65 percent of checking accounts are now free, compared with 76 percent a year ago. That reverses a trend: that number had been growing since 2003.
Consumer watch list:
--        Watch your account statements, either online or by mail, for fees.
--        Read your account holder agreement, which includes your terms and conditions and is provided when you open an account. To request another copy, contact your financial institution.
--        Watch for notices from your bank or credit union about new fees. These notices may come through the mail, e-mail or in your monthly statement.
--        If you get your account statement by mail, don't ignore stuffers in the envelope. A document called "notice of change in terms and conditions" could be included.
--        If you see unfamiliar fees on your account statement, contact your bank or credit union for an explanation.
Consumers who have questions or complaints against a bank can contact the Missouri Division of Finance at finance.mo.gov or 573-751-3242; for credit unions, contact the Missouri Division of Credit Unions or 573-751-3419. Both divisions regulate state-chartered institutions. If a complaint is against a nationally charted institution, consumers will be directed to the appropriate federal agency.
 . Click Here for more info.

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