Many U.S. Bank checking customers should begin preparing for changes that may be coming to their accounts in the near future. Here’s how you can escape the increasing fees and prevent having to switch banks.

The decision by U.S. Bank (NYSE:USB) to eliminate free checking and hike account fees is just another move by a major bank to replace anticipated lost revenue due to the Fed’s proposed caps on debit card transaction fees.

avoid checking account fees us bank imageIt continues to support the case that new federal regulations are actually hurting consumers as opposed to helping them.

General Changes to U.S. Bank Checking Accounts

A large group of current U.S. Bank checking accounts will be consolidated to Easy Checking along with small changes to higher tier accounts. Also, higher fees and new requirements to waive those fees have been introduced.

All of the accounts that have monthly maintenance fees will offer the option to meet an average account balance amount to avoid paying that monthly fee.

The rest of the fee waiver requirements (varies by the account) can be fulfilled by either:

  • making transfers to other U.S. Bank products such as a U.S. Bank credit card or money market account, OR
  • having a total of $500 or more in combined direct deposits per month, OR
  • being of a certain age.

Some U.S. Bank customers are already avoiding their monthly fees with no trouble. Others may not be in the same situation.

Keeping a large balance in a checking account is not feasible for many customers, so the next best option to escape fees is direct deposit.

Avoid Monthly Fees With ACH Transfers

The option to waive monthly fees with combined direct deposits (of at least $500) is available on three U.S. Bank checking accounts, which are:

  • Easy Checking
  • Silver Package Checking
  • Gold Package Checking

These three accounts will cover a large portion of U.S. Bank checking account customers. If you’re a U.S. Bank customer who will have one of the three checking accounts stated above, there is a way to avoid the monthly fee even if you don’t have direct deposits or don’t have a combined $500 in direct deposits.

Because of the way that bank computer systems recognize direct deposits, certain types of money transfers are labeled as direct deposits even if they didn’t originate as payments from an employer, Social Security, or other retirement benefits.

Currently, U.S. Bank customers have reported that an ACH transfer from a savings account has set off an account alert that a direct deposit was received. You can set up an account alerts to notify you when a direct deposit has been credited. Then, initiate a transfer from another bank account into your U.S. Bank checking account. If an alert is triggered, you can set up automatic monthly transfers and allowing you to steer clear from the monthly maintenance.

Note that U.S. Bank may change the computer configurations that will ruin this loophole without notice. In the meantime, many customers will find it useful.

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  • Rvauthor

    The use of ATM and debit cards was encouraged by banks because it allowed them to significantly reduce the number of tellers they had in branch locations, and significantly reduce their account service processing expenses by eliminating costs associated with paper documents.

    The banks significantly eliminated the use and processing paper checks; they significantly eliminated printing and mailing statements, and they eliminated the float between when checks were cashed or businesses received payment.

    The banks also created a situation where they could also charge merchants 1% -3 % of any purchase paid for with a debit card.

    The result is every improvement extended by banks in the form of ATM or debit card services reduced bank costs and improved the profitability of checking account. Banks rarely do anything that does not improve their profits.

    However, you can safely assume that the banks always do very little that increases their costs. While the banks tell us what they (purportedly) spend; they never tell what the save by changing their business practices. In short, any cost reduction goes to their bonuses; any cost increase goes directly to the customers.

    I have had free checking for more than forty years, long before the advent of debit or ATM cards. I fully expect to have free checking account services regardless of what the nation-wide banks do.

    Anyone looking for free checking need look no further than the nearest credit union, a local/regional bank, or a bank such as USAA Federal Savings Bank, which is dedicated to serving their customers; not their executives.

  • PO’d

    Federal regulation can and is helping. The credit card laws have made things better in my opinion. Credit cards and the companies that issue them are still evil. But they only chop off a finger now and then, not straight for the head like they use to be able to do.

    Banks make so much off of other stupid fees. I just had to get old bank statements and checks to straighten out taxes with my HOA. 5.50 per statement, 5.50 per check and 25.50 per hour research, total was over 300 dollars for 18 months of papers. I can go on and on about high fees banks charge. And the sad part is so many people pay it without question. Banks make billions every quarter on over draft fees alone.

    Every business has become greedy and money hungry. Bigger bonuses and better stock prices.

    Banks, insurance companies, and healthcare should not be profit based. They should look to earn enough to sustain business and room for growth. The kind of profits these businesses make they could afford gold plated offices. This country is getting out of hand.

  • Wil Macaroni

    Pretty smart. I just thought to do this since I had 2 accounts. One was so large i never really noticed it was being charged a fee until it got low. Then I called and they told me about this deposit stuff. So now I make sure every two weeks $250 is added in that account. Then transfer it out. I had to google it to see if it would work. Good stuff.