With bank fees on the rise, more and more Americans are
considering switching banks. According to a recent poll by
Bankrate.com, 72% of Americans said they would consider moving
their money to another financial institution if their bank hiked
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If you're searching for a new checking account,
recently released a list of what to look for in an account.
Kasasa.com is a national brand of free checking and savings
accounts offered by community banks and credit unions. Many large
banks no longer offer these things, so that's why it's important to
review what an account actually offers before signing up.
Gone are the days when free checking was commonplace. Only 39% of
banks now offer checking accounts with no fees or minimum balance
requirements, according to Bankrate.com's 2012 Checking Survey. Big
banks, in particular, have been imposing fees on formerly free
checking accounts in an effort to recoup revenue lost as a result
of recent regulations that limit overdraft and debit-card swipe
fees. Community banks and credit unions are more likely to offer
free checking. According to the Bankrate survey, 72% of the largest
credit unions offer free checking.
No minimum balance.
The average amount banks now require customers to keep in their
accounts to avoid fees is $723.02 -- up 23% from 2011, according to
Bankrate.com. Look for banks without balance requirements or that
waive them if you sign up for other services, such as direct
Nationwide ATM network.
If you're afraid to switch to a community bank or credit union
because you think you won't have access to a nationwide ATM
network, think again. Many belong to the surcharge-free Allpoint
network, which has 43,000 ATMs nationwide, so you won't get hit
with fees when you don't use your bank's ATM. Or find a bank that
will give you a refund if you use an out-of-network ATM. Banks that
provide Kasasa accounts offer ATM refunds.
A decent yield on interest checking.
As yields on interest-bearing checking accounts have declined, the
requirements to open these accounts and avoid fees have become
tougher, according to Bankrate.com. On average, you need about $500
to open an account and a minimum monthly balance of more than
$6,000 to avoid fees. Kasasa's free checking accounts offered by
community banks and credit unions have a base interest rate that
customers automatically receive without having to meet a balance
requirement. The rate rises, though, when customers do meet
qualifications such as receiving electronic statements and using
direct deposit. And many of the accounts Kiplinger's lists in our
7 Credit Unions Anyone Can Join
slide show are interest bearing and don't have a minimum balance
You can search for a community bank near you at the
Bankers of America
site and look for credit unions at
. If you find an account that offers the attributes listed above
and you're ready to make a move, see
Switch to a Bank With Lower Fees
for tips on making a smooth transition.
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