Totally free checkong? No ATM fee?

A recent pit thread reminded me of something I have always wondered about, and that is the current trend of all these banks that are offering “100% totally free checking!” and “No fees for using other banks’ ATMs!” :confused:

Color me confused, because every bank account I have ever had (which has been two savings and one checking,) has been like this. Was I just in the minority? The first three acounts (the two savings and on checknig) were with local banks, so I can understand them being free, since local banks have to offer better service to make up for lack of location. But my most recent two were with Key Bank, and now Charter One. I opened the Key Bank one about a year before I noticed the free checking trend. Do (did?) most banks charge a monthly fee for a checking account? Obviously, I understand a fee for checks, and I had that, but even then it was just if I went over a certain amount a month (usually twenty…and who writes that many checks nowadays?)

And the ATM thing, same deal. My banks never made it a big selling point that I wasn’t charged by them to use a different ATM (still charged by that ATM, though.) But now it seems that a lot of banks do use this as a selling point.

Maybe it’s just because my accounts have all been fauirly recent? Is the idea of charging people to use a bank that will make money off of my money a thing of the past that a lot of people still consider standard practice?

Credit Unions seem to be most guilty of this. Since they aer better than a bank, they like to list why, but by listing these features, they are really still the same. They should make mention of the fact that they have higher interest rates, better service, and so forth instead.

So what have your expereinces been? Have any of you actually had a checking account that charged you to use it?

:smack: Make that two savings and three checking.

Wachovia customer here. I get free checking IF I use direct payroll deposit, and the company I work for banks with them. I get charged $2.00 to use a non-Wachovia ATM, in addition to any charges by the ATM owner. I can, however, use my debit card to make purchases and get cash back with no fee. Evey bank I’ve dealt with also charged (anywhere from $1.00 to $2.00) for using a third-party ATM.

Years ago, I had an account with a bank that sounds like Sells Cargo and they did charge something like $5 a month without direct deposit and they did charge for “foreign” ATM use in addition to whatever the foreign bak charged for the use of their ATM.

Today, most banks around here still charge for non-direct-deposit accounts, but they have stopped charging for using other banks’ ATMs. Some will even rebate the other bank’s charge if you’ve a “premium” customer.

I will not mention the company I work for, but it’s in the financial services industry, although it’s not a bank. In order to have direct deposit, you MUST have at least part of your pay deposited in a company account. Unless you opt for the type of account that has an annual fee, you get charged a service fee of $1.00 every time you make an ATM withdrawal. They have no actual bank branches, so the only way to get money out is to cash or deposit a check at another institution, or to pay the $1 fee. And this is the deal for employees.

OTOH, my Commerce Bank account has no fee at all unless the balance drops below $100, and has no ATM fees for use of their card anywhere.

The rules at my company recently changed so that you can have part of your salary direct-deposited elsewhere. I designated 99% to my Commerce account, 1% to the company account. Oh, and although neither is a large rate, the Commerce account pays more interest than the company one.