Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Citibank to extend free checking

Citi had planned to impose fees on holders of two types of 'free checking' accounts.

By Karen Datko Feb 2, 2010 3:33PM

This post comes from partner site


Citibank has reached an agreement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to alter its plan to charge more than 1 million consumers nationwide fees on what were supposed to be "free checking" accounts.

Under the agreement, Citibank will extend the benefits of those free checking accounts throughout 2010 for consumers who signed up for them in 2009. Citibank also will not charge fees on checks until Jan. 31, 2011. The company had originally planned to begin charging the fees on Feb. 1.


Who qualifies

For several years, Citibank has advertised and offered "free checking" services to consumers who opened an EZ Checking or Access checking account, as long as the consumer used either direct deposit or made two monthly online bill payments.

Depending on where the consumer banks, the free checking offer meant that Citibank would not charge monthly maintenance fees of $7.50 or $9.50, or per-check charges of 50 cents or $1 after the first 10 checks.


Citibank's "free checking" ads, which appeared on its Web site and in branches, never disclosed that the service could be terminated at Citibank's discretion. On Nov. 2, Citibank decided that effective Feb. 1, EZ Checking and Access account holders would be charged a monthly fee and per-check charges if their combined balances fell below $1,500.


The company then failed to adequately notify affected consumers about the change, critics say. The vast majority of account holders who would have been subjected to these fees would have been charged at least $9.50 per month.


In order to be eligible under the agreement, consumers must have met the offer's original qualifying conditions in the past year and continue to do so. All affected consumers will receive notice by mail of the changes.


A lot of banks offer "free" checking, but many consumers find out the hard way that "free" isn't always free.


Related reading at

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.