This chart from American Banker shows just how many nails are in the coffin of free checking at big banks in a post-Durbin amendment world. That is a whopping drop from 96% of large banks offering free checking in 2009 to only 34.6% in 2011. What’s also amazing is just how resilient free checking is at the credit unions and smaller banks, which continue to use it as a marketing tactic to attract customers.
At the same time, if you’re considering moving your money to a smaller bank or credit union, you should be cognizant of how “free checking” is really “a bit of a misnomer,” writes Reuters blogger Felix Salmon. “Checking is never free. It’s just that in recent years banks have been able to conjure the illusion of free through a system of regressive cross-subsidies, where the poor pay massive overdraft fees and thereby allow the rich to pay nothing.”
Free Checking Thrives at Smaller Banks, Durbin Notwithstanding [American Banker]
Chart of the day, free checking edition [Felix Salmon]