On Thursday, Wells Fargo (WFC) announced that six additional states will now charge a $7 fee on checking accounts.
So much for a revolt against checking account fees.
In a move to discontinue free checking accounts, Wells Fargo has slowly been weaning states away from it. Beginning in 2010, the bank ceased offering free accounts to new customers while current customers could keep them.
Wells Fargo (WFC) spokeswoman Lisa Westermann said, “Free checking essentially went away in 2010. As time evolved, we have been introducing fees into other accounts, with a number of waivers for customers.”
In 2011, the bank moved some existing accounts, primarily those from Western states, to the $7 fee per account recently offered to new ones.
And this year, current customers in six states will now pay the fee. This includes Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. This will begin on May 4 and the fee will appear on June bank statements.
For customers, these fees can add up. According to the personal finance website, NerdWallet, it discovered that for customers who don't meet minimum balances as well as additional requirements, they can be charged an average of $110 per year based on the country's five biggest banks.
John Tschohl, a bank consultant for customer service, said, "Banks don't realize they are going to lose much more in the way of lost customers than they are going to make on these ridiculous fees."
Additional Wells Fargo Accounts
For the six new states, affected Wells Fargo customers will include those holding Essential Checking accounts. Customers can waive the fee but they will either will need to maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance or make $500 direct deposits on a monthly basis. They can also receive a discounted $2 fee by choosing to receive only online bank statements.
Whether or not additional states will be hit by the $7 fee remains to be seen but a Wells Fargo (WFC) spokesperson said in a statement, "This has been a gradual change -- we've notified many customers that this change would be happening, and this is another extension of that. We want our customers to come in and talk to us and make sure they are in the right account and getting the options they need."