In 2007, a mother of three thought she would introduce her kids to the world of banking by having them each open up passbook savings accounts at the local Bank of America branch. But rather than learning how savings earn interest over the years, the kids found themselves schooled in the finer points of bank fees and the need to check your statement.
Earlier this year, when mom took the young ‘uns to the bank to deposit some Christmas checks, they found that two of the three kids’ accounts had been closed while the other account only contained about 60% of its total deposits.
The mom tells San Francisco’s KGO-TV that when she opened the accounts for the children, she had believed there wouldn’t be any fees associated with them because they were all tied to her existing BofA account. Alas, starting in 2008, each account was hit with a monthly fee of $3. In 2009, that fee went up to $5 per month.
Those fees chiseled away at the two smaller accounts until they were reduced to zero. The wealthiest of the three children still managed to have $191 of the $323 she had deposited over the years.
In a statement to KGO-TV, BofA says:
Bank of America does provide ways to avoid fees for children’s savings accounts. Unfortunately, we cannot verify what was communicated four years ago that helped determine the type of accounts the customer opened for her children. It is the responsibility of the customer to regularly review bank statements to keep on top of account activity.
So please, before you consider opening an account — for your child or for yourself — try to get as clear an understanding of any associated monthly fees. And even after it’s open, make sure to check your statements on a regular basis to make sure you’re getting what you think you signed up for.
Thanks to Brandi for the tip!