SunTrust Bank has stopped offering its Free Checking account and replaced it with Everyday Checking, an account that may impose a monthly service fee and debit card usage fee.

SunTrust Bank (NYSE: STI) stopped offering free checking accounts to new customers on June 18 and has since replaced it with Everyday Checking.

The SunTrust Free Checking account required no minimum balance and charged no monthly maintenance fee. The new Everyday Checking account will charge a $7 monthly account fee unless the account maintains a $500 minimum averaged daily balance or posts a monthly direct deposit of at least $100.

An alarming change: Everyday Checking will charge a $5 monthly fee for using a debit card on signature, PIN point-of-sale, and recurring check card transactions. Transactions made at an ATM will not trigger this fee.

According to a customer representative, customers who currently have Free Checking can continue to use their accounts until November 2011, when their accounts will be converted to Everyday Checking. SunTrust Bank will begin sending out customer notifications in August.

No changes are coming for SunTrust’s two other checking accounts – Solid Choice and Signature Advantage.

Impact of Debit Swipe Fee Rules

The change by SunTrust Bank is an evident response to the debit card swipe fee rules that are slated to take effect on July 21. The rules will cap the amount that merchants pay to process each debit card transaction – expected to slash debit interchange fee revenues by 80%.

“It’s no secret that the banking industry is undergoing a transformation due to numerous factors,” said a SunTrust spokesperson. “We’ve developed these changes in a measured, thoughtful way taking into account feedback from our clients.”

According to their Q4 2010 earnings presentation, the Atlanta-based bank brought in $332 million in 2010 from debit interchange fees. SunTrust projects a 75% decrease in its revenue from debit swipe fees – an estimated annual loss of $249 million.

SunTrust Bank has been one of the more reluctant big banks to discontinue its free checking account amid multiple regulations over the past two years. The bank did join the wave of banks that have eliminated their debit card rewards program and has finally dropped free checking.

Read: SunTrust Bank Ends Debit Card Rewards Program

But, SunTrust is among the first of the top 10 U.S. banks to charge customers for using debit cards – a trend that could catch up among the banking industry.

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  • Mrsg1

    I’m moving to Sprin Hill and I don’t think I can afford your service. I guess i need to comparison shop. A $500.00 balance ??? Don’t you think $300.00 would be enough? And a monthly fee to use a debit ? OMG.

  • ScumTrust

    Mrsg1, I agree.  I’m getting rid of SunTrust and heading to either Reliant Bank, First Bank, or Renasant Bank. All offer free checking, no minimum balance, no charge for having and utilizing a debit card, and best of all, they’ll pay you a fairly decent amount of interest!

  • Missplatinums

    And this is the thanks we taxpayers get for loaning them TARP $$$;

  • Begreenall

    As a consumer I will be more conscious of the smaller merchant. I plan on carrying more cash and use it with small merchants to save them money..  Always use debit card with Wal-mart and the likes. I’ll be paying the $60 a year to Suntust and limit my Debit card usage as much as possible.

    Perhaps Suntrust should offer free Debit Card usage fee for users that go over $5.00 worth of purchases per month (5.00/.12=41.66667). I am sure I currently use my debit card more than 42 times a month. Well, that’s going to stop.

    • That would be entirely counterproductive. They want to DISCOURAGE credit card use. The $5 fee is to cover their “expenses” for letting you do it.

    • Lucybrown

      if you are going to pay the fee why would you use it less? that kind of reasoning is why the banks have gotten by with the way they do business.

  • hh

    I just got the SunTrust letter in the mail this weekend about the changes to my Free Checking. So in response, I started the process of switching my account to another bank that still offers free checking without these new fees. So much for “banking solid” with SunTrust. I was really disturbed by the debit card fee; I hope other banks do not follow suit.

    • okiui

      “banking solid” HAHAHA

  • Fsb

    I have one kind or another of personal account and/or a business account with Suntrust for 20 years. I have just received the letter regarding their changes in November 2011. I will be closing both of my accounts in September – I suggest everybody else does too.

  • Johndoe

    Good Job Suntrust just as the rest of the corporates messing over the common people….gues the old saying is true the rich get richer the poorer get poorer…….and we are “recovering the economy”….the politicians say….sure they dont have to worry about everyday life.

  • Llallen1113

    Got the letter yesterday.  I’m moving to another bank, just not sure which one yet.  Anyone using Wells Fargo or Chase?  My other option is a credit union, which would work, except for the ATM fees from other banks are not waived or refunded.

    • Debbie

      I use Wells Fargo and so far its been great.  No fee for me, basic checking, savings, and alot of atm purchases.

      • Thebugman

        And now Wells Fargo is charging debit card fees.

  • Sue

    Been a long time customer of Suntrust and was upset by the letter. Even worse was the woman manager at the bank (not the tellers who are wonderful) who was downright rude when we went to see if these new fees could be waived. We probably would have stayed if not for her insulting behavior to us.  Went to the corner Fifth Third Bank and they were only to happy to give us free checking, free checks, no atm fees and after 60 days, a deposit of $100 into our account. Its an incovenience to change the direct deposits and bills being paid automatically but to Suntrust – you’re fired!

    • Dseifer

      I received the same rude service by my local orlando Suntrust location. Leaving due to principal, not the $5 fee for using check card.

  • Gomezdeborah

    Came to suntrust 6 months ago from chase and was so happy to get delta skymiles with
    My debit card. The letter came a week ago and was disturbing. I am in the process to switching to navy federal credit union. I suggest everyone switching too.

  • Anonymous

    I will be heading to my local Suntrust branch on Monday to close out my account. You have lost my business Suntrust

  • Jrgonzalez1965

    Yet another ploy to increase their bottom line.  You know they were investigated for mis-managed funds and bonus mis-managing!!!  These’s bank are sticking it to all Americans.  Other banks will soon follow.  What a way to make even more money in this ever-so-changing and failing economy and banking system.  TARP?????…..wont even go there!!  Wake up America, it time we voice our opinion and drop these corporate idiots!

  • moving on

    I’ve been a loyal customer of SunTrust for about 10 years.  I have my mortgage with them and several bank accounts.  From $0 to $12 a month is absolutely absurd.  I’ll be finding another bank.  

  • Xflmco

    Boycott Suntrust, once they lose business and crumble other banks will be afraid to follow thru with fees. Its time we consumers step up and stop being lazy and take our business elsewhere. Banks keep paying Ceo’s bonuses and charge the average consumer more and more fees. Suntrust has lost all Trust with me. Good riddance.

  • johnmesser

    I have been a Suntrust customer for many years.  I have a checking account with direct deposit of my pay check as well as a home equity line of credit with them.  I received the letter about the upcoming changes and went into the local branch today and asked how I could avoid paying a $5 monthly fee to use my debit card for purchases that starts in November.  Their answer:  keep an average balance of $5,000.  Since that’s not going to happen, I’m planning on closing my checking account and putting my equity line with another bank.  Way to stick it to the average, hard working Americans who have been your loyal customers for years, Suntrust.  You may have heard there is double digit unemployment and a fragile economy?

  • Rick

    I am leaving SunTrust and going to a local bank which still offers Free Checking so F U SunTrust! F U and the horse you rode in on!

  • bored

    So the govt tries to cap their fees on business and they pass it to consumer? And fire the person who said to release all this at one time. I mean, really? Couldn’t break that news even a month or so later? Who carries $5,000? Who can maintain $500 bucks at a time (those struggling)? I’m sure quite a few for now but not the person living check to check. And now we are charging for ‘convience’ of using our cards? Is it not bad enough that we use a bank only to have them charge us up the rear for the dumbest thing? Well, OK. I’ll keep my inflated worthless cash then. With the rating of the country down to AA, not like many people will actually get loans. Keep on hording greedy people, Suntrust isn’t alone.

    Let’s see here,: Fee to cash a check, to have an acct, to take my money out of acct, god forbid I make a mistake an overdraft. (thankfully some banks give you a few days to correct it or say under $5 waives that). Fee to use a card, fee to maintain a balance, interest fee, fee for withdrawing or using acct said many times, fee for X amount of over 4 transfers per month between your own acct. fee to exists. Well fee you.

    Granted I hate a no ‘free checking’ acct. I could deal with having a month fee, a waive if there is a direct deposit. Looks like I cant save money because they will fee it to death. I mean really, look at how ridiculous it is. And if you get by without one fee you will end up with some other fee.

    Do one change at a time not all three. If others follow suit then people will stop and keep their money. After people use their credit cards they may rise with more fees too, lol. Vicious cycle. Hopefully there will always be someone out there with common sense. I understand companies need to make money, but if everyone would work together the economy would recover sooner. More greed, more regulations, and more b.s. I see why they downgraded us. the people of this country need to do and say against it.

    I’d rather just spend the money on a re-loadable card whether its secured or a store gift card. Too bad…once accts go across the board, more jobs will be lost. When is enough enough? Apparently not yet.

  • Jackie

    I had Senior checking # with Community Trust Bank, which included free checks with my free Senior checking #, along with free online banking, & free debit card. When Suntrust took over I lost my Senior checking & was put into their version of a free checking that’s not free because they charge for the free checks I used to get with CTB. Now they want to charge me money for everyday checking & my debit card. Businesses pass the fees they’re charged on debit cards to their customers. This is just another way to screw the customers. Looks like I’ll be looking for another bank or local credit Union. Better yet, maybe I’ll join USAA, use them & my Navy Credit # & the heck with Sun Trust!!!! Wonder how many costumers banks are gonna lose & how many costumers credit unions will gain?

  • 78jamesv

    Seems to me that not to long ago all banks wanted us to use debit cards instead of writing checks to save them money Now that pretty much all of us don’t carry cash but use only our debit cards they want to stick it to us.

  • Sealifemyra

    IMO I believe all the banks SHOULD be bending over backwards to get our business.  Instead it is the other way around.  They want the consumer to pay to keep our money in their vaults.  Not only did the taxpayers and consumers bail out all the banks with BILLIONS of our hard earned money so they can sit high on their pretty horses they claim NOW that they need to “restructure” the way they do business.  Yes, restructure but at your own expense and not charge the consumers.  They claim these are “fees” I made it clear to them today that they are NOT FEES but they are PENALITIES / FINES for not meeting their new requirements of keeping more money in their vaults.  They will take us all for every penny if we don’t stand up and so no more. 

  • Pissedoff

    My bank was bought out by suntrust years ago, I’ve always had free checking and now there just going to change it and throw all these fees to hold and use MY money? They can keep there fees, they just lost a 25 yr customer.
    If this is the way banks are going, I will just start paying with money orders and cash. We survived many yrs without the banking system, we can do it again.

  • Mizaprild

    Looks like everyone feels the way I feel. I will be telling them goodbye as of next week. I already have 2 different banks in my area who do not charge a fee for your debit card usage. Tried talking to the people at Suntrust and they are absolute Jackasses. No point in even trying to speak with them. The lady challenged me to find a bank that won’t charge me debit card fees and I ended up finding 3.

  • They also charge $5 for every statement you request at the branch and $20 or $30 to close your account. People need to stand up and show these greedy a-holes that they can’t be in business without us. Soon they will be offering money to people to come back and open up accounts if we stick together and show them who runs this thing! The hard working people. I’m moving to another bank as well. Not sure which one yet.

  • John

    I closed my Suntrust checking account and opened PNC bank free checking.

  • oklui

    I’ve already switched banks cause I got the notice in August.  C ya Suntrust!

  • Terri_rms

    I won’t stick with Suntrust if they do this. I hope they reconsider like some of the other larger banks have.

  • tells us how we can avoid the FEES AGAIN please

    • Gtruthful

      Why is everyone in such a fuss. We the people make the laws and our reps in Congress should be acting on our behalf. Of course, the American people have been had. Your Congress cares more about banks, greed, military, millionaires and Israel than for the average citizen.

  • go to ChangeDOTcom and search the Site for Sun Trust $7.00 and sign the petition We have a voice !!!!

  • mismaxy

    $7 is quite a bit to charge LOYAL customers who have been with you for SEVERAL years!  That adds up to $84 a year for using your checking account !  Even if you do have $500 monthly in your account, it’s still too much. I CERTAINLY think it should be removed.  Many people will be moving to other banks due to this!  In this time of recession, we don’t need more added to us when so many are struggling as it is!  Please reconsider this unnecessary fee!

  • Nashcountryboy

    Two words:   CREDIT UNION!     I closed my suntrust and moved to a credit union with free checking, unlimited checkwriting, no minimum account balances, and national ATM unlimited usage with NO FEES.    Bye, Bye Suntrust!

  • Frank

    Hi my name is frank katra from Australia i have a balance of $4.999.700 million in suntrust bank theres 2 steps to open the account 178284# then a code number than to ask me if thats my money by pressing 1000189983 its called transit account how can i transfer my money to my bank account wich suntust bank will release my brocker thought its a good idea to earn more intrest please ring me on 0417189810 sydney Australia number asap please