Kip Tips


Time to Break Up With BofA?

Cameron Huddleston

Bank of America is testing new fees. Should you switch banks to avoid them?



If you’re a Bank of America customer and haven’t heard the news, I hate to be the first to tell you: More fees may be on the way. BofA has launched a pilot program in three states to test a monthly fee on its basic checking account, the Wall Street Journal reported March 1. Customers will have to pay $6 to $9 a month for an “Essentials” account and up to $25 on other accounts unless they maintain a minimum balance, use a BofA credit card or have a mortgage with the bank.

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This news might prompt you to consider changing banks, but Alex Matjanec, co-founder of MyBankTracker.com, says you should consider the following:

--Would you want to switch banks even if Bank of America doesn’t impose new fees? Consider whether the account you currently have is right for you and review other options at the bank before looking for another financial institution.

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--If you’re thinking about leaving, weigh convenience versus fees. You may get lower fees and better customer service at a smaller banks, but you will lose the 24/7 experience bigger banks offer.

--If you do decide to change banks, make a list of what you want in a financial institution before making a move. Consider whether you prefer to visit a branch or bank online, how often you use out-of-network ATMs and whether online bill payment or mobile banking services are important.

--Regardless of your decision, request a fee schedule, review all the ways you could be hit by a fee, find out whether you can avoid them or if they’ll actually cost you more than what you’re already paying.

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