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Chase Relents A Bit On Checking Fee

The bank will waive its fee with multiple direct deposits totalling at least $500 a month.Chase is changing the way it charges — or doesn’t charge — you for your Total Checking account.

The big bank has (gasp) made it easier to avoid a monthly service fee on its basic checking account.

That’s a clear reversal from a position it took earlier this year.

The bank in February began charging customers that did not have at least one direct deposit of $500 or more per month a $12 monthly service fee.

It didn’t matter if you had two or more deposits that combined crossed the $500 threshold. If at least one deposit wasn’t for $500, you’d lose.

Up-in-arms consumers? Of course.

This policy on what used to be Chase’s free checking account could cost customers $144 a year.

Enough people complained, apparently.

Chase has changed its policy so that if your monthly direct deposits total more than $500, you skip the fee.

This means you can hit the threshold with multiple deposits instead of just one.

It’s difficult to find this policy change on the bank’s website, which still promotes the single-deposit rule.

But if you drill down into the account rules and regulations addendum, you’ll find this: “Monthly Service Fee — Not charged in any statement period when you: Effective with statement periods beginning on or after August 24, 2011, have direct deposits totaling $500 or more made to this account.”

Notice the plural deposits.

You also can avoid the fee by maintaining a $1,500 minimum daily balance or an average daily balance of at least $5,000 in other bank deposit or investment accounts

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Chase change its mind about a dumb fee.

In May, the bank ended its trial run of $5 ATM fees.

Lesson learned, readers: sometimes complaining, especially to big banks, does nothing.

But then again, sometimes it can save customers $144 a year.

Of course, this still isn’t a good deal if your employer doesn’t pay you electronically, if you’re a freelancer or consultant who doesn’t typically receive direct deposit, or a server or bartender making most of your money in cash.

If this applies to you, it’s time to seek another checking account.

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