Bank of America wasn’t the only big national financial institution to announce some changes that might hit customers in the wallet. Citi was quick to bash Bank of America when it rolled out its hugely unpopular debit card fee, but it just announced an overhaul of its checking account options, along with increases in minimum-balance requirements and monthly maintenance fees that kick in Dec. 9.
One big change affects the bank’s mid-level checking option. The bank is phasing out its EZ Checking account, which hasn’t been offered to new customers for over a year. Customers who have this account now can keep it, but there are some new rules. The monthly maintenance fee was raised from $7.50 to $15, and the minimum balance customers have to keep in linked accounts in order to avoid the fee jumped from $1,500 to $6,000.
The mid-tier checking package the bank now offers is called the Citibank Account. The maintenance fee for this account is going to stay at $20 a month, but the minimum balance customers have to maintain to avoid the fee jumps from $6,000 to $15,000. A bunch of different loan and investment products, including mortgages, count towards this total, which makes that five-figure threshold a little easier to achieve for customers who have other relationships with the bank. (Citi also cuts them a break on the $2 fee it charges for using a non-Citi ATM if they keep them minimum amount in the account, although the other bank will still hit them with a fee on their end.)
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The monthly maintenance fee on Citi’s basic checking account, which is being renamed the Basic Banking Package, increased from $8 to $10 and the bank added a $1,500 minimum balance requirement. For customers with less than $1,500 in their account (or the checking account plus a linked savings account), the fee will be waived if they have one direct deposit plus one online bill payment per month. Previously, there was no minimum balance required, but the fee applied unless the customer conducted five transactions a month.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s the fact that Citi also rolled out an overhaul of its retail banking website that includes budgeting features and tools to help customers manage spending.