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Free Checking Isn’t Really Free

Posted By Jim On 06/15/2007 @ 1:55 pm In Banking | 10 Comments

Does your bank offer free checking? If the answer is no, you need to enter the 21st century and switch to one that does offer free checking (I have a Bank of America My Access Checking [3] account, no fee, no minimum balance requirement, if you want to thank me and have BOA give me a $25 referral fee [you get nothing though], email me because we need to go through their referral process). Now, if the answer is yes, what is the minimum balance you need to carry in order to be eligible for free checking?

That minimum balance times the difference between the checking account’s interest rate (likely under half a percent) and 5% (the going rate for most online savings accounts), is how much that free checking costs you. For example, if you have a free checking account with a $1,000 minimum balance and the interest rate is 0.1%, you’re losing $49 a year in lost interest. That’s the same as paying about $36.75 (25% tax bracket) a year for your free checking.

So, is your checking free or just… kinda free?


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[3] Bank of America My Access Checking: http://www.bankofamerica.com/deposits/checksave/index.cfm?template=check_myaccess

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