Citi Raises Fees On Checking Accounts

Occupy Wall StreetWhen in rains, it pours. Last week Bank of America announced a $5 fee to use its debit card. This week the Occupy Wall Street protesters are fanning out across the country, looking to unseat the bonus marchers in the history books. And now my own bank, Citi, has gone and raised fees on its checking accounts.

Beginning in December, Citibank’s mid-level checking account will cost $20 a month. And to avoid this fee, you’ll need to keep a minimum balance of $15,000 in your combined Citi accounts. Before this increase, the minimum balance to avoid the fee was just $6,000.

Citi will also assess a $15 monthly fee on its EZ checking account unless you maintain a minimum balance of $6,000. And Citi is apparently phasing out its EZ checking product, which was the first checking account I got from Citi nearly 20 years ago. And all of these fee increases are on top of a $2 fee hike (from $8 to $10) on its basic checking package announced last month. If you can meet the minimum balance requirements, however, Citi does offer up to a $400 gift card bonus on new checking accounts.

If you miss the days of no fee checking, don’t dispair. There are still plenty of banks that offer free checking accounts. Three of my favorite options are PerkStreet, Ally Bank, and ING Direct.

All three banks offer no fee checking accounts. PerkStreet comes with cash back rewards of up to 2%. And Ally Bank offers a checking account with absolutely no fees, not even ATM fees. So at least for now, we have some options.

Here is what others are saying about the onslaught of new fees:

Larger Checking Account Fees at Citi, But Bonuses Continue (via Deposit Accounts)

Citibank Jacks Up Monthly Fees On Checking Accounts (via the Consumerist)

Photo Credit: Nearest Neighbor

Published or Updated: October 28, 2012
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.


  1. frugaljoe says:

    I am very interested in seeing how this Occupy Wall Street movement plays out. If it goes anywhere I suspect it will be big time during the summer of 2012 just before the elections. It is really about time ordinary working people put their foot down, enough of these wealthy corporations getting too greedy. Not to say they should not be making money, but they have taken it too far.

    • DR says:

      Frgaljoe, the thing I can’t figure out is exactly what the complaint is. For example, what corporations are too greedy? It’s as if we have this general discontent, but no specific complaints. I guess it’s popular to hate Wall Street, but I’m not sure why.

  2. Nancy says:

    Yesterday, I marched to protest the latest large fees at Bank of America. I marched into a local credit union, and enrolled into a savings and a FREE checking account. All they wanted was ten dollars to set up the savings account. Free checking, free debit card, etc. The qualification needed to enroll was to reside or own property in the area I live. Next week, after the last payment clears, I move my money out of BofA.

    My son and I had added up the yearly BofA fees. The total, prior to adding the new debit card fee, was the equivalent to 30 takeout large pepperoni pizzas, including sale taxes. Yes, I use the “is it worth method”. After almost three decades of banking with BofA, it was time for a change.

    • DR says:

      Nancy, thanks for sharing your story. I’ve love the comparison to buying pizza! It puts the fees into perspective.

  3. Jim Graham says:

    The bank fees have not affected me personally; we have been fans and advocates of community banks for several years and have long since fired the corporate banks.
    However, I was in a local plumbing supply house, getting the pizza shop we are opening (and creating a dozen jobs) a new hot water valvestem for the triple sink. My commercial faucet was an oddball, and so I told the counter person to help the guy behind me – he just needed some aluminum tubing for routing his sand rail’s throttle cable.
    Well, he paid for his tubing with an affinity card with my alma mater’s mascot. I commented on his ASU Sparky card, and he said “Yeah; I need to get rid of it; BofA is charging me $5 per month to use it.” I suggested that he go to The Bank of Hemet, our community bank, my bank, and the second-strongest bank in California. He said he’s already there, as did the shopkeeper.
    US consumers are not roped into accepting the crap that corporate banks push on us. We can become informed, and we can fire our banks just as we can fire a merchant who provides shoddy service or poor product quality – we can take our business elsewhere. I suggest that the US consumer should and could take his or her business to the community bank in the area. Not only will corporate banks’ silly, superfluous, and userous fees be avoided, but also the money that we save, the interest on loans that we pay, and the economic vitality to which our banking business contributes, will be focused and magnified in our local community, not shipped off to some far-off corporate headquarters.

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