Say what?! Bank of America is now charging customers for being broke

Bank of America eliminating free checking accounts for customers with low balances

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Bank of America is ending its free checking option, upsetting some customers enough that they've vowed to close their accounts.

For those grieving the loss of free or low-priced checking, this is nothing new; banks have been pushing up what they charge customers for years.

But the elimination of Bank of America's free checking program will have a direct effect on many low-income customers.

This month, all remaining eBanking customers with the Charlotte, N.C., lender were switched into accounts that charge a $12 monthly fee unless the customer has a $250 or more direct deposit or a minimum daily balance of $1,500 or more.

Bad news Bank of America users: your free checking account might no longer be free.

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The eBanking account did not require customers to keep a minimum balance, if they agreed to receive their monthly statements online instead of in the mail, and to use automated teller machines instead of tellers for withdrawals and deposits. This is one of the lowest qualifiers in the industry and a great value.

Bank of America introduced the eBanking option in 2010. "BofA, keep this feature available for the low income people that don't even go inside your banks", one person commented on the petition.

Bank of America, the second-largest bank by assets, will no longer be "the only brick-and-mortar bank that offered free checking accounts to their customers", according to the petition.

Like online banks, credit unions have numerous same types of accounts offered by big financial institutions, but often without the accompanying monthly fees.

With online banks, customers can deposit checks, pay their bills and complete other basic banking tasks from their computers and smartphones.

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However, "the availability of free checking with no strings attached still exists", he said.

That is one reason why "just 59% of US adults with household income under $30,000 per year even have a checking account", according to the study.

"Poor people who are denied access to traditional bank services are left vulnerable to costly check-cashing outlets, pawnshops and other predatory services", she said.

Analysts at KBW predict Bank of America's earnings will increase 17.8 percent in 2018 once the tax cut is factored in, compared to an expected 13 percent earnings increase for banks overall.

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