In today's big banking world you see all sorts of advertisements to sign up for a checking account. I recently looked at the Wells Fargo website and choosing a bank account is more complicated than picking a mortgage. Wells Fargo Value Checking, College Combo, Wells Fargo Custom Management Package, Wells Fargo Complete Advantage Package, and Wells Fargo PMA Package. What happened to a good old plain checking account?
I have seen these large bank marketing companies get smart by putting a bunch of fancy language and terms to almost confuse you enough to thinking you are getting some type of deal. In fact, on the Wells Fargo site there are 5 different disclaimers in fine print just in the checking section alone to explain other charges that may happen or some charges are non-refundable. You basically have to get out a magnifying glass and a slide rule to figure out what is going on because they know most consumers won't read the fine print. Please note: READ THE FINE PRINT!
Here's why you have to read all the information. On the Wells Fargo Value Checking, for example, you get charged a $5 monthly service fee ($60 a year- just multiply that cash by 1 million customers!) unless you meet the minimum requirements. What are the minimum requirements? You have to sign up for direct deposit into their bank account (which they know most people hate changing), or maintain an AVERAGE daily balance of $1,500 or more. The second part is that you MUST use Wells Fargo ATM machines. If you don't it is $2.50 a pop to withdraw money, and $2.00 a pop to check your balance. Last, if you feel like actually getting some rewards you can yet pay another fee for the FREE Platinum rewards debit card.
This may be a good time to revisit your checking accounts as they may not all be created alike. With all of the on line bill paying and ability to check balances, hardly anyone reads through their whole statement anymore. Take some time to look at all of the fees you paid over the last year because they can add up to cost you more than an ATM withdrawal!
Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
Co-CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc
Phone 1.800.355.9318 or 770.777.0427
oXYGen Financial, Inc. co-CEO Ted Jenkin is one of the foremost knowledgeable professionals in giving financial advice and Smart Money Moves to the X and Y Generation.
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