Harry Gross: Fee-wise, banks stay ahead of the curve

Posted: May 24, 2011

Dear Harry: My bank sent me a notice (four pages of print so small I needed a magnifying glass to read it) that indicated that they will no longer send me photocopies of the front and back of my checks without a monthly charge of $5. There were a bunch of other charges and changes that would probably never affect me. Now that $5 is not a killer of a charge, but if I need a copy of a check my cost will be $11 for each check (why that odd amount is a mystery). It seems that no matter what the government does to control overcharges by banks, they always find ways to come up with new ways to keep ahead of their customers. I remember when banks would send your canceled checks each month at no charge. What can I do to get my statements back to where they were?

What Harry says: You probably can't get your bank to go back to the old deal on checking accounts. However, try some small local banks and credit unions that may be more eager to please customers. Let me just report on my personal experience with similar statements over many years. I have had an account with a brokerage that has check-writing as part of the deal. My statements list the canceled checks by number with the amount, issuance date and payee. On the very rare occasions that I needed a copy of a canceled check, they mailed it to me promptly with no extra charge. I must add that the broker charges $125 a year, but that includes a number of other services such as being physical custodian for securities I own. This might be another avenue to explore.

Write Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, 400 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19130. Harry urges all his readers to give blood - contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.

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