Checking Account Trends

Oct 29, 2014
Personal Finance, Checking Accounts, Debit Cards, Current Events

Here’s what new in the last week:

  • Bank accounts tend to be sticky.  According to JD Power and Associates only 5% of customers changed banks in the last 12 months (Money)
  • Money’s 2014 Best Banks survey finds midsize and online banks offer most compelling checking products (Money)
    • Their Bank Matchmaker Tool provides useful way to engage students and have them think critically about the factors that matter in selecting a bank
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Board concerned about banks/credit unions blacklisting consumers and denying them access to checking accounts (Lexology):

Checking accounts are one of the most widely used financial products, with 200 million Americans receiving their wages and paying their bills using their accounts. Consumers who open a new account are screened for various risks, Cordray explained, such as fraudulent or illegal conduct (such as money laundering) as well as credit risks, typically used to gauge how likely a consumer will incur overdrafts and pay them back.

Credit reporting agencies and specialty consumer reporting agencies – with data on a consumer’s history with regard to medical payments, tenancy, employment, or insurance claims – can “greatly affect how consumers are treated,” Cordray said, causing the CFPB concern in three areas: the accuracy of the reports, consumers’ ability to access the reports and dispute any incorrect information, and the ways the reports are being used.

  • Percentage of U.S. households without bank accounts fell to 7.7% last year, according to FDIC (The Hill).  What are the hurdles to getting an account?

Overall, there are about 9.6 million households without bank accounts representing 25 million people. Those without accounts — 35.6 percent — said the main reason for not having an account was because of insufficient money or the inability to meet minimum balance requirements.  Of those without accounts, 34.1 percent said that they had recently closed an account because of either a significant drop in income or job loss.

  • Halloween is right around the corner and here are five bank fee “horror stories (GoBankingRates).  Here’s one:

The costliest 40-cent fee in the entire world

Michael C. Podlesny’s tenant who lived on his rental property told him one month that she’d pay the $900 rent in cash to avoid a late checking charge. Unfortunately, Podlesny was the one hit with the bank fee, an unwieldy number that cost more in principle than it did in price.

After depositing his earnings, Podlesny said that within a few days, his account balance revealed that he was charged a cryptic 40 cents. “They had a fee of 10 cents per $100 when you deposit more than $500 cash,” he said. “To make a long story short, I complained, and they waived the fee, but I removed all of my money from that bank and now bank elsewhere.”

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.

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