By JLP | June 8, 2012
I was looking at my Wells Fargo account last night and noticed they charged me a $15 (yes, FIFTEEN DOLLARS!) account maintenance fee. I remember getting an email or notice about the new fees but wasn’t concerned because it seemed as though we met their ridiculous criterea necessary to avoid the fee.
I was wrong.
I emailed Wells Fargo and asked them why I was charged a $15 fee. I woke up this morning to this response (or part of it, anyway):
Thank you for contacting Wells Fargo. My name is Felicia, and it is my
pleasure to assist you today.
I understand your concerns about the service fee that was recently
assessed to your account.
The $15.00 monthly fee is waived on the Complete Advantage Checking
account when three or more additional consumer accounts and/or services
from separate account categories are linked to this account, and at
least one of the following conditions is met:
– At least $5,000.00 in combined deposit and select credit balances
(includes credit card balances)
– A $75.00 or more single monthly automatic transfer to a Wells Fargo
– A linked Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
To determine whether this balance has been maintained, we look at the
lowest balance in the account during the statement cycle. Accounts
eligible for the combined balance waiver are checking, savings, time
accounts, retirement accounts, and/or outstanding balances in a personal
loan or line of credit, home equity loan, or equity line.
They went on to say that our account had dropped “slightly” below the minimum and that was why we were charged the fee. She did go on to say that she would reimburse the fee this time.
So, here are my options:
1. Meet the bank’s criteria on a monthly basis and not pay the fee. This idea is laughable because of the amount of money the bank requires we keep in our account and the very silly interest they pay (I believe our last interest payment on this account was $.09 (NINE CENTS)). Of course, no one else is paying interest so this is a moot point.
2. Pay the fee ($180 a year).
3. Change banks (Ugh! I hate this idea (and don’t think for a second that banks don’t know this)). We have a credit card, a checking account for us, a checking account for each of our boys (both teens), and three savings accounts with Wells Fargo—not to mention all the payments that are tied to our account. Besides, there’s no guarantee that whatever bank I switched to wouldn’t change their policies in the future.
4. Send in my account information so Dick Durbin can reimburse me. As far as I’m concerned, this is Durbin’s fault. He’s the one who insisted on the law that caps the swipe fees that banks can charge merchants. You take away a revenue stream from banks and they’ll figure out another way to make back that revenue.
We have been with Wells Fargo for a long time. I have never been disappointed with them. But, this $15 fee may change all that.