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Free Checking Possibilities

By Dian Vujovich

It’s no secret that in their effort to make more money banks have ramped up everything from the interest rates they charge their credit card customers to reinstating many of the piddly fees charged for services that a few years ago had gone by the boards. These fees, btw, can provide huge revenues for banking institutions but that’s a subject for another day.

Regarding checking fees, apparently there still are a few places one can find fee checking. Oh no, how goofy of me. I mean “free” checking.

SmartMoney.com has come up with a handful of them —the full story can be read at; http://tinyurl.com/ngza2m . According to their research, some national banks still offering that service include the following:

• Chase has changed its Chase Free Checking program to Chase Checking. The “free” part comes with some strings attached. It’s only for those who use direct deposit or make at least five debit card purchases during each statement period. Don’t do that and you’ll incur a fee of $6 a month.

• Customers of Bank of America’s My Access Checking Account face a monthly maintenance fee of $8.95 but that gets waived for anyone who opens an online account.

• Citibank’s EZ Checking is free provided you use direct deposits, make two monthly bill payments from it each month and keep a $1500 balance in the account. Monthly account maintenence fees for those who don’t range from $7.50 to $9.50. Plus there’s a fee for checks. Nothing EZ there.

• SunTrust offers free checking with no strings attached and so does Wachovia.

Of course there’s no guarantee on how long free-checking at any of these banks will remain in place, but if you’re in the market and a fan of free, why not investigate them.

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