It has come to the point that every time I encounter another ridiculous media article about the pending demise of free checking I behave like one of Pavlov’s famous dogs. Only in my case, instead of salivating, I write another blog debunking the article.
The latest article, “Checking changes afoot as new rules take effect,” appears on page 14 in the July 23, 2010 issue of the Sacramento Business Journal. Thanks to two huge photographs introducing the article, the reader is initially led to believe he or she is going to read about the dramatic falloff in the use of paper checks. And, in fact, the first 13 paragraphs of the 28-paragraph article are devoted to the declining use of paper checks.
But a hint of what is to come in the latter half of the article is presented in the article’s subhead, “With checks slowly vanishing, free checking also could be on its way out.” My immediate thought on reading the subhead is “What could the declining use of paper checks possibly have to do with the demise of free checking?”
After all, free checking is the most popular checking account in America today. And its continued growth at the expense of more costly accounts is seen as a threat by the big banks and their growing legion of consultants.