What's New With Checking Accounts?

Mar 04, 2016
Identity Theft, Checking Accounts, Payment Types, This Week In Financial Literacy, Article

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Here are several recent articles about checking accounts that should be of interest:

  • What will happen to your bank account if interest rates go negative (from Business Insider)?

Analysts at Deutsche Bank hosted meetings with PNC Bank’s chairman and CEO, Bill Demchak, last week and addressed the possibility of negative rates. The answer was simple: “If rates go negative, consumer deposit rates go to zero and PNC would charge fees on accounts.”

  • CFPB looking to make checking accounts “safer” for customers (Lexology):

Taking a deep dive into the area of checking accounts, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) sent a letter to 25 of the largest retail banks “encouraging them to make available and widely market lower-risk deposit accounts that help consumers avoid overdrafting” and issued a Compliance Bulletin warning banks and credit unions that the failure to meet accuracy obligations when they report negative account histories to credit reporting agencies could result in Bureau action. “Consumers should not be sidelined out of the basic banking services they need because of the flaws and limitations in a murky system,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement. “People deserve to have more options for access to lower-risk deposit accounts that can better fit their needs.” The letter urged banks to offer lower-risk products (such as “no-overdraft” accounts) and advertise them during sales consultations and on their websites.

  • Are the passwords for your online bank account keeping your money safe (from Quartz)?; includes interesting chart which shows the features passwords at top banks:

Few passwords are as important as those that protect your finances. So you’d expect banks to require the most secure login credentials on the web, but that is largely not the case. We checked the password requirements at six of the biggest consumer banks and found that they allow pretty simple passwords across the board. We also found that only half of them provide two-factor authentication.

  • Coming soon: you will be able to take money out of your ATM without a card (from BankInfoSecurity)

Three of the nation’s largest banks, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, have announced plans to start deploying these new ATMs later this year, allowing their customers to conduct contactless tap-and-go transactions with their mobile smartphones, according to reports by the Los Angeles Times.

And the National Credit Union Administration this week issued a new report, acknowledging “The reality is smartphones may end up being the way most consumers gain access to ATMs in the future.”

  • Overdraft practices at big banks generate about $11 billion/year in fees; many consumers also confused by lines of credit that come with overdrafts (from NY Times)

Ms. Lemus is one of millions of Americans tripped up by overdraft practices, a murky corner of consumer banking that, despite a lot of hand-wringing in Washington, costly litigation and customer rancor, remains largely untouched by financial regulation.

In a push for transparency since the 2008 financial crisis, regulators require banks to clearly disclose and explain the terms of just about every financial product, including credit cards and mortgages. But overdraft practices still come with hidden costs and confusing terms, bank customers, lawyers and consumer advocates say.

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.