Somewhere in dim memory, I recall an episode of Night Court in which some mogul is signing a check for something or other and Dan Fielding is looking over his shoulder. And suddenly Dan loses his composure: “You keep five figures in checking?”
Well, I don’t. If I did, and if I had a checking account at Chase, I could avoid the monthly service charge: all it takes is a direct deposit of $500-plus every month, or a minimum balance of $1500. If your response to that is “Yeah, right, how often do I have $1500 in checking?” you are not alone:
Are you nuts?! I mean, I keep this account TO PAY CHECKS. Of course I will have less than $1,500 daily balance on it! That’s the purpose of checking account to be liquid and have a turnover. And I don’t have a direct deposit with anybody at the moment btw, last I heard, businesses are not required to pay employees exclusively through direct deposit. So everybody who is not getting paychecks direct-deposited, in other words freelancers and short-term contractors, or unemployed with less-than-$500 weekly checks, or pensioners are getting discriminated against those with steady flow of income and get robbed, monthly!
This is, of course, consistent with everything the banking industry has said since the arrival of the CARD Act and the specter of the Durbin Amendment: “If we’re not allowed to gouge Customer A, we will be forced to gouge Customer B.”
The regional bank I use has a free-checking package still, though they operate in only three states. There is a service tier above that, which has more perks and which actually pays interest, though not much of it; it requires, however, five figures (!) in your combined accounts.