Checking account fees rise, fee waivers tougher at the big banks 2013

by. Simon Zhen

In the past year, the average basic checking account fee at the top 10 U.S. banks (by deposits) has risen from $9.29 to $9.99 as banks continue to revamp their fee policies. Additionally, it’s also getting slightly more difficult to avoid these monthly fees.Since the Federal Reserve proposed a limit to debit card swipe fees in 2010, big banks overhauled their checking-account offerings to compensate for the loss of revenue. Free checking accounts were quickly replaced with accounts that had monthly fees and fee waiver requirements.

PNC Bank resisted the trend for three years but the bank finally followed in the footsteps of its competitors. In August 2013, PNC stopped offering its free checking account to new customers and grandfathered accounts will convert to the bank’s new Standard Checking account in June 2014.

PNC’s new Standard Checking account has a $7 monthly fee, which contributed to the increase in the average monthly fee of basic checking accounts. The basic checking account fees from the other banks remained these same in the past year.

Here’s a chart to compare basic checking account fees and fee-waiver requirements at the 10 biggest banks:

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