How to find free checking in 2014

Don't Waste Your Money

It's getting harder and harder to find free checking accounts in 2014.

As banks try to make up for losses on home loans and in other areas, they are now asking checking customers to pay.

But there are still some ways to keep using that checkbook for free.

Banks look for new revenue sources

Forget about free toasters to open a bank account. Nowadays, just finding a free bank account is getting to be tough.

The website Bankrate.com says new banking regulations -- like limits on overdraft fees --are forcing banks to look elsewhere for profits.

Many are now adding charge for checking, from $5 to $15 a month for accounts that just two years ago had been free.

How to avoid the new fees

But Bankrate says with most banks, you can keep your free checking if you:

  • Keep a minimum balance, ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 in most cases.
  • Or direct deposit your paychecks, keeping at least $500 or $1,000 in the account at all times.
  • Or have multiple accounts, such as a savings account or money market tied in with your checking.

But watch those minimums

But from the "doesn't that stink" file, the rising minimum to keep free checking.

Some banks are now requiring you to keep $5,000 in checking to keep the account free: Doesn't that stink?

Bankrate says in that case, shop around: Most smaller banks, community banks, and credit unions, require much less.

So check your bank statement for any new monthly charge for checking. If you find one, ask what you have to do to avoid it.

That way you don't waste your money.

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