Please, Don’t Use a Checking Account With Fees

by Jason Unger

ING Direct doesn't exist anymore, but we still love it.

The Motley Fool published an article last week called “You Can Thank Millenials for Your Checking Account” about the (recent) history of the free checking account.

It’s an interesting read if you’re curious about how banks introduced free checking accounts to get new customers, but then got caught up in the fee game (something we’ve derided here plenty) and how millenials – used to managing their money online and on their smartphones – have made checking accounts what they are today.

Here’s the main evidence backing up their title:

Young people don’t generally write checks. Gallup found 72 percent of millennials use online banking services weekly – compare that to the 21 percent of Gen Yers who have never paid a bill with a check in their lives, according to a Western Union study. Meanwhile, 64 percent of millennials receive at least half of their bills electronically.

Despite this disdain for traditional checking features, Gen Yers tend to keep a fair amount in their checking accounts. This might be because they have more debt than other generations, and therefore more monthly bills to pay, according to a 2014 TD Bank survey. With an average balance of more than $2,240, millennials are one of the more liquid generations: somewhat behind boomers ($3,447) but ahead of Gen X ($2,081).

It’s all true, and what we talk about all the time.

But I don’t want to talk about history or trends. What I really want to talk about is the idea that people are still using checking accounts they have to pay for. There’s absolutely no reason to have a checking account that comes with fees.

It’s easier than ever to find an account that doesn’t have fees. Here’s a great link to compare checking accounts.

Your account doesn’t need to have fees. There’s nothing you can gain from an account that has fees. So don’t have one.

Check to make sure your checking account doesn’t have fees, and if it does, either find out how to get rid of them (cancel paper statements, sign up direct deposit, etc.) or switch today.

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