Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
The Boston Globe has a story today outlining some new fees facing Bank of America customers. Generally, the bank is raising minimum balance standards and other requirements that would erase fees, meaning more consumers will be paying a monthly fee.
This is not a new phenomenon in the banking industry. Once upon a time, most bank customers were able to get a bank account with no monthly fees attached. Those days are now fading – if not already gone. According to the Globe, Bank of America’s monthly fees range from $6 to $25 a month.
The good news for consumers in Massachusetts is that there options for low-cost, or even no-fee, accounts.
On the no-fee side of the ledger, state-chartered banks must offer accounts with no fees to anyone 18 or younger and 65 or older. These “18-65" accounts are some of the best-kept secrets in Massachusetts, and they shouldn’t be, because they offer a great option for teens learning how to manage money or seniors living on a fixed income. We recently did a survey that found banks do a good job with the required disclosure of the accounts’ availability, but there is plenty of opportunity for more education and attention to these accounts.
Many state-chartered banks also offer low-cost banking accounts to all consumers. These low-cost accounts require no more than $25 to open the account, charge a monthly fee of no more than $3, provide at least 15 free withdrawals per month (including at least eight checks), and charge no more than $1 for additional withdrawals. Last October, we launched our “Save Money! Bank on It” campaign with banking and community organizations around the state, encouraging use of these accounts.
Getting hit with new fees – no matter the bank – is no consumer’s idea of a good time. But options exist at our great community banks for those who are looking for a better deal on their bank accounts.
Craigslist Scam Alert: How You Could You Be Paying Someone to Steal Your Personal Info posted on Jul 24
Over the past week, the Consumer Hotline has received two complaints about a scam on Craigslist where buyers are scamming sellers out of money and their personal information. Callers reported being scammed when trying to sell an item on Craigslist. Online buyers would offer to …Continue Reading Craigslist Scam Alert: How You Could You Be Paying Someone to Steal Your Personal Info
First Time Homebuyers Prepare Themselves posted on Mar 13
Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases a consumer will ever make. Although buying and owning a home may seem daunting, prospective Massachusetts homeowners have a wealth of resources to prepare themselves. HUD-approved housing counseling agencies and Community Development Corporations around Massachusetts provide …Continue Reading First Time Homebuyers Prepare Themselves
Subfreezing Temperatures Don’t Have to Freeze Your Bank Account posted on Jan 9
As the nation has endured subfreezing temperatures this week and consumers are putting their thermostats to work, it might be a good idea to check in and see how efficient your heating system is running. In Massachusetts, MassSave, a statewide program sponsored by Massachusetts energy companies, supports …Continue Reading Subfreezing Temperatures Don’t Have to Freeze Your Bank Account