Former N.J. Wachovia Customers Facing Fees With Wells Fargo

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

From a New article:

Wells Fargo & Co., the second-largest deposit holder in the state behind Bank of America, started charging its former Wachovia customers in New Jersey a $7 checking account fee this month, the latest example of a large bank adding monthly fees, in part to offset costs of increased regulation.

Wells Fargo bought Wachovia in 2008 and for former Wachovia customers, the new fee marks the end of free checking, which is already long gone at Bank of America, Citibank and Chase. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo had stopped offering free checking to new customers in 2010.

“Free checking is getting harder and harder to get,” said Alex Matjanec, co-founder of, a consumer banking website. “It’s still available, but you have to go to the community banks.”

The fee Wells Fargo is charging its Essential Checking Account customers took effect for customers in New Jersey and five other states and will begin showing up on monthly statements beginning June 4. The fee can be waived by maintaining a $1,500 minimum daily balance, or by making direct deposits totaling $500 or more during a statement cycle.

The topic of user fees, particularly for DDA accounts, continues to be a main point of contention for many banking customers. Even the mere mention of such fees creates a firestorm of criticism from both the media and from consumers.

For many of these customers, fees can be waived by making minor adjustments to their banking profiles and transactions. For others, a review of options available at community banks and credit unions are in order. For the latter group, many will be pleasantly surprised to see the personal service and vast network of shared branches and surcharge-free ATMs available to them at these institutions.

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