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Will Free Checking at Banks Soon Be a Thing of the Past?

Is free checking going away?
(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Many of us have “free” checking accounts at the financial institution of our choice.  But will that soon go away?

According to The Week, and information from The Wall Street Journal, the days of not having to pay a fee for your checking account could be gone, due to the sluggish economy and numerous new government regulations.

In 2009, 76 percent of checking accounts at banks were free, meaning you didn’t have that monthly charge of $25 or so to keep it open. Now that number is down to nearly 39 percent. Financial experts say the economy and new rules Obama shoved through in 2010 have eaten significantly into banking profits, and the institutions are looking to recoup that revenue. One of the “brilliant” ideas of Obama was significant limitations on what, and how much, overdraft fees can be charged to a customer.

This only encourages people to run in the red. While some banks were getting a little ridiculous with overdraft fees, banks had to make sure customers didn’t go negative in their accounts, or bounce checks.

The Wall Street Journal experts predict most customers will not attempt to switch financial institutions in search of free checking accounts because that often involves having to get new routing numbers and other electronic information for the many accounts that people pay online or automatically, and that can be difficult and time consuming.

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