Big Bank Research Paper

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Especially in this era of big bank chutzpah, the phrase “free checking” might sound like an oxymoron along the lines of “free bills,” “free debt” and “free inmates.”

But the truth is, free checking never really went away: It just got blown to smithereens for many of those who keep their accounts with Citibank, Bank of America, Chase and their ilk. What do the fees look like? Even within one bank, it can differ greatly.

Citibank, for example, charges anywhere from $10 a month for Basic Checking to $30 for its interest-earning Citigold account. But hey: You can get that $30 waived if you keep a combined balance in all your accounts of $50,000. Woo hoo! Then again, Citigold also comes with a “checking plus” credit line that kicks in whenever
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Banks never used to make their customers work this hard. Meanwhile, free may not truly be free if you have to pay substantial overdraft fines, ATM fees or stop payment charges—any or all of which you can expect with the above mentioned accounts.

For that reason, many have made the switch to online banking, and would never go back to Daddy Warbucks’ Bricks-And-Mortar Bank.

My colleague Morgan Quinn at GOBankingRates has compiled a list of the 10 Best Checking Accounts of 2015. Not only are all of these free; you can open them up online, which means that your choice will boil down to other factors—ranging from minimum balance requirements to waived ATM fees.

Topping the list is the Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account. This online-only bank offers a minimum deposit of $10—that’s less than you’ll probably spend on your next pharmacy run—and offers free online and mobile banking, bill pay and e-statements, along with a free first order of basic checks.

Bank5 also boasts a UChoose Debit Rewards Program, where you can earn points redeemable for thousands of items online, including vacation packages, gift cards and electronics. The account also reimburses out-of-network ATM fees, up to $15 per monthly billing

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