Bank of American testing new account fees

As a result of recent legislative moves by Congress and the Federal Reserve, major banks have been struggling to raise revenue leading many to raise fees on consumer accounts.

Now, Bank of America is announcing it is conducting a trial run on bank accounts with monthly fees for consumers, many of whom are already struggling with credit card debt and unemployment.

The North Carolina-based lender says it will offer four new checking accounts to consumers in Georgia and two other states as part of the trial run. These accounts will require already cash-strapped consumers to hold higher balances and use their accounts more often, or face penalties.

“Nothing’s going to be free anymore,” Jennifer Tescher, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Financial Services Innovation, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Free checking is dead and gone, or if it isn’t yet, it’s going to be soon.”

The most basic new checking account costs $9 per month, and there is no way to avoid this fee. Others range near the $15 mark for maintenance fees. However, many experts say these tactics could backfire on banks and force those with a high debt load out of the credit card system altogether.