Beginning in February, Citibank will begin charging customers $7.50 each time their checking account balance dips below $1500. But they say that’s a reward, not a punishment.
Penny-pinching Citibank will put the squeeze on small-fry customers, charging them up to $90 a year by demanding a fee every time their average monthly checking account balance sinks below $1,500. Starting in February, Citibank will no longer automatically waive its $7.50 monthly fee for its “EZ” and “Access” checking-account holders who make either a direct deposit, or two bill payments online monthly. “Yes, we’re changing certain terms and conditions for our EZ and Access checking-account packages,” a spokeswoman said. “Regarding what prompted us to make these changes, we did so to make them more simple and straightforward, by recognizing and rewarding customers for maintaining their balances with Citibank.” But one Citi manager admitted the extra fees will be a tough sell, and likely will send many of his less-well-off customers to rival banks. “Some are regular working folk who are trying hard to make ends meet and to pay their bills,” said the manager. “Fifteen hundred dollars is a lot of money. Many don’t have that kind of balance in their accounts.”
Legislation is currently before Congress that would curtail the billions in fees that banks make monthly.