In what seems to be a continuing trend, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) introduced another new fee this month that charges its members $3 per month to receive check image copies on their paper statements.

The new fee is another sign from one of the nations largest banks to slowly convert their customers to be fully digital. The $3 fee is called a “Check Image Service Fee” and it seems it was quietly placed on February statements to cover the costs of having printed images of your canceled checking mailed to you with your paper statement.

Read: Bank of America to charge $59 Credit Card Fee

Charging for check-images is nothing new to the banking world. Other large banks, such as Wells Fargo introduced a $2 fee of its own and Wachovia customers last year as it looked for ways to cover the losses from the new overdraft protection rules.

What is a Check-Image Fee and How to Avoid It

On the Bank of America FAQ page on their website, the Check Image Service is described as:

“A Check Image Service fee is charged for returning images of your canceled checks with your monthly statement. You can receive an online version of your statement which includes images of your cancelled checks at no cost. To change the way you receive your statements, visit the Stop/Start receiving paper statements link within the Customer Service menu in Online Banking.”

Therefore it seems, the only way to avoid this new fee is choose to access check images online or cancel paper statements all together.

Though Bank of America representatives indicate that they notified their customers of new fees such as this back in September of 2010, many customers have been caught off guard as no exact timeline for the added charges was provided.

In a push to get customers online, Bank of America has invested heavily into its web presence, winning multiple awards, while at the same time, closing 6,100 branches back in the sumer of 2009.

The sudden nature of how this fee appeared on customer statements is another reason why consumers should continue to review their statements every month.  Ensuring no new fees have been added—at this time there should be no other new fees.

How do you feel about Bank of America’s recent push to introduce new fees? Will you switch to digital statements? Are check-image copies for cancelled checking something that will be missed?

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  • Guest

    DON’T LET THEM FORCE YOU INTO ONLINE STATEMENTS! I contacted them through the online chat feature, and the associate was able to remove the imaging “request” and the fee from my account, so I don’t have to pay and don’t get the additional (worthless) $3 piece of paper with the tiny copy of the front of my checks. I can still look at the checks online and see both front and back, as well as make copies if I need to. Far better.

    • Guest

      Bank of America is SO LAME for doing this. If they did “tell us in advance”, it certainly was not an obvious communication. I was totally caught off guard and I think that it is an awful practice.

    • Gaylefranz

      Just found out they’ve been charging me this fee.  I am going to demand a refund, and consider changing banks!

  • Dave14301

    My Mom and I did not get told in advance.

    • Geegeesimone

      We were all notified in advance. It was on our statement in sept, oct, or nov.. somewhere around there. Is it the banks fault your parents don’t read their notices?

  • Deedee

    I contacted them with online chat here is the result:
    You can switch your statements to “check safe keeping”. That way you get paper statement without check images and request up to 2 copies of checks per month and still view print any of the checks online. Also got a refund for the last fee. Good luck.

  • Robjo1870

    Regarding BOA’s check imaging fee. They will either drop the fee and continue to send me the imaged checks or I will take my considerable account elsewhere. Their choice.

  • Robjo1870

    Regarding BOA’s check imaging fee. They will either drop the fee and continue to send me the imaged checks or I will take my considerable account elsewhere. Their choice.

  • Stevenjo03

    This sucks. Some sort of advance notice in bold print or something separate would have been best. They probably did tell me–on page 4, of some single-spaced, #8 font. The heck with them. I plan to move to my local bank.

  • Lena Aztlan

    Senior citizens don’t have computers and access to online banking. They are on a fixed income. A surprise three dollars a month is another form of senior abuse! How horrible for elders in the community. When every penny is being counted just to live there is no warning. Shame on Bank of America. Besides I never forgot about their contribution to aparth… disgusting. I will surely see that my parents pull out their savings.

  • Gristandgrease

    Bank of America is forcing customers to choose paperless statements by charging this fee and adding no value. It means that the customer must always lose, and the banking executives must always win, despite the little people bailing them out after they mismanaged our money.

  • Geegeesimone

    I don’t understand why people think they should get everything for free when it comes to banking. Especially people with no mortgage or investments. It prob costs the banks money just to have you as a customer. Would you expect your cell ph carrier to just provide you services for free? When T-mobile charges you $9.99 a month to text message do you cry about it like a little baby? No, you expect to pay for your services. But, when it comes to banking you think that the acct, atms, banking center services, statement services, checkcards, online banking, bill pay and all other services should be on the banks dime? I really don’t get people. My bank makes my life so much more convenient then it was with banking 15 years ago and I actually kinda appreciate it. I get everything for free right now which kinda blows me a way. If they wanted to start charging me $3 a month or even $10 a month for everything I get out of the deal I would still feel like I am getting a bargain.

    • Johnpmc

      Except they still jack the money from you when you do have considerable investments and mortgages. You might say it is in the mud but it is contrary to their whole public image commercial schtick where they say they have all these services with no fees. Yes, other companies are constantly ripping us off to with these measly “Fees” for which you really get almost no service from, doesn’t make it right either.

    • Guest

      You may be missing the highest “fee” of them all..interest rates less than 1/10th of a percent or no interest at all. How much is that costing you every year? Yes, banks are in it “for the money”, trying to excise 24.99% interest from the unwary and paying you nothing for using your cash. Happy paying nuisance fees? Lotta luck to you.

    • Chx1138

      Hey geegee,

      You ever hear of a little thing called interest. You put your money in a bank and they loan it out to other people and make interest leveraged by your deposits…… They make billions upon billions this way. They also make billions upon billions in many other ways like……….. Mortgages, credit cards ,card service fees, overdraft fees, etc, etc, adding up to trillions of dollars industry wide! I really don’ think that we need another capitalist pig apologist for the banking industry that’s inventing new ways to screw us out of our money!

  • Johnpmc

    Well, even with this coverage they seem to be unable to show you images of all your checks. Checks beyond 180 days are out of the question and some checks get posted funny without the check number as printed on the check and are unviewable. These checks are all subject to the $3 per copy. Seems exploitive to me considering it is my financial information. And yes, this has happened with checks written on paper. When you ask about it they bring up all kinds of cases applicable to electronic checks, but which I know for a fact were checks I wrote out on paper checks.

  • guest

    I am bank-shopping. The hell with this greedy bunch.

  • Guest

    I was charged the fee in March and I asked Bof A to remove the charge – in return I was to deselct having check images mailed. I did so, but in April, I was charged again for check imaging. The response this time – it takes up to 30 days for the request to be activated and by that time another statement period will have been reached, triggering the charge. I requested that it be removed again.

  • Guest who

    OK, that does it! I’m going local! B of A is rolling in money and laughing at the public while we run like hamsters on a wheel trying to keep up with their latest tricks. No more!!!!!

  • Mike

    I have over 47,000 in savings and checking earning less than .75% annual rate. I think the check image fee is chicken xxxx and Bank of America is pushing me closer to only dealing with a credit union.
    I have been a customer for 30 years and I am most unhappy.
    Clark Howard is right! They do not care about its customers.
    Sneaky, underhanded and money grabbing so and so.

  • Sallyacamp

    I am a senior and am very upset by this change.  I was not aware of the change for three months as no notices were sent out.  I may move my account to my credit union. I  miss check image copies for cancelled checks.

  • Ajay

    I just realized this on this months statement.  I do not have time every month to check this in detail, but I do eventually do an audit against my checkbook. Since I have always had the Advantage account and would have to at least keep a balance of 5K, I actually do expect to get something for “free”.  I have lent them 5K for the last 15 years so is it really free?  I suppose if your account varies between 0-1000 they lose money on you.  If it were not for the free stuff that goes along with the account I would have taken my 20K somewhere else long ago and given up BOA’s whopping 0.75% interest.

    I never signed up for this new account and if they do not refund my fees for the last 3 months, they will lose my accounts.  There are banks out there that still appreciate your business.  BOA is trying to make up for their bad investments by sticking it to their customers.  In the last few years it has become less conveinent to bank with them in my city… less branches…less atms.  I think BOA will eventually fail if they keep doing this, because people will not put up with it.

  • Bob

    In recent months, BofA is so greedy that they’ve added these little $3 fees on Maximizer Savings accounts that gets a ridiculous 1% interest, something .15 cent interest per month.  Now this stupid fee about bank statements.  I’m taking my $10K+ accounts to Chase!

  • Guest

    I have been with B of A for over 30 years. I will not do my banking online. I just got jacked on my Pay Pal account and that is suppose to be safe. There is no one that can guarantee that your personal information on-line is safe.

  • Vincent M Brannigan

    Just had the most incredible conversation with Bank of America.  If you write a check using a quill pen and ink made of bear fat and fireplace soot you can get an electronic copy on line.  But if you use their super duper 21st century Bill Pay system to generate checks and pay bills Bank of America has absolutely no online record of these electronic checks. you have to call and get a copy by mail or fax.  It is incredible how far down the food chain you have to go to find this kind of stupidity. As Samuel Johnson said: “Such an excess of stupidity is not found in Nature”

  • Sharon

    In view of the latest news of high profile peoples credit reports being exposed (Gates, Beyoncé, etc) why on earth would I want my banking/financial info on the Web…B of A should be protecting us, not jeopardizing us, by requiring online banking to avoid check image fees. I’m a low income senior and all these extras add up…Think Bof A is doing just fine financially without dinging the little guy. I’ll take my banking elsewhere.

  • KdF

    I think it’s time I dumped this cheezy bank. Some notice from 2010 is making this OK? I never made a account with BOA, We got a account 40 years ago at the Bank of South Austin. Thru takeovers and mergers, here I sit with these theives charging me for something I can see on-line anytime. Good Bye Bank of Ripoff!

  • Marcus Peabody

    I only just noticed three years later. this should be provided complimentary as a service. They make enough money from the interest on your money… they are just being greedy bastards charging any other fees on your account. But we all know Bank of America is the most crooked and corrupt banking organization in the USA, funding wars and all sorts of questionable business practices. Just withdrawal your money as soon as the funds have come through the bank and put them anywhere else except in a bank. That way you have power over the banks and you have your money, every cent of it, whenever you want it.