Bank of America is now assessing fees to checking account holders who receive images of their canceled checks in the mail along with their statements.
Bank of America spokesman Don Vecchiarello says inserts were included with customers' statements back in September alerting them that the change would be coming, but it seems that some customers were still caught unawares, if the venting on Twitter is any indication.
"It doesn't affect the majority of our customers," Bank of America's Vecchiarello tells WalletPop. If you are one of those affected and you don't want to pay the fee, you can still see images of your canceled checks online for 180 days. Vecchiarello says customers can also enroll in Bank of America's "Check Safekeeping" program, which archives check images for seven years (you can see two free images a month; after that, it's $3 a pop).Going paperless and getting your statements online is another option, but it's still a good idea to print out hard copies for yourself or save them to an external hard drive in PDF format, so don't forget to include those costs in your calculations.
This check image fee isn't unique to Bank of America; many of the other big banks charge similar fees for certain accountholders (the fees are sometimes waived for customers who have perks-filled "concierge" style accounts or keep very large balances). It's unfortunately only the latest in a long line of fees banks are implementing in order to preserve the outsized profits they were making on things like automatic overdraft program enrollment, which would ding customers $30 or more each time they overdrew.
The Consumerist blog has an interesting exchange between a customer and an online chat representative about the fee. If you have a Bank of America account and were surprised by this fee, it's worth calling or visiting your local branch and asking them to waive it. While they're not required to, WalletPop is hearing that some people are having success with this request. And, as always, read everything your financial institution sends you before throwing it in the recycling bin.
Bank of America Customers Hit With Yet Another New Fee