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Bank of America Introduces “SafeBalance” Account; For a Fee

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Bank of America announced a new account for customers called the “SafeBalance” account. The account costs customers $4.95 per month and does not issue any checks, according to the Huffington Post. The main feature of this new account is the fact that it does not allow customers to overdraw.

The interesting thing about this new offering is the fact that the bank will be charging for what is already a free service. Many banks charge customers an overdraft fee of $35 each time their account is overdrawn.

In a blog post on the Consumerist, no customer has to pay an overdraft fee if they wish not to do so.

In 2010, the Federal Reserve said that banks are no longer allowed to charge customers automatically for over-drafting their accounts. The new rule gives customers the opportunity to opt into a program called “overdraft protection.” This is the service that charges customers $35 each time they overdraft their account.

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If customers choose not to opt into this program, the account will not be charged it will just be declined when purchases are attempted.

“The SafeBalance account was designed for a small segment of customers who want added protection against all overdrafts,” Betty Riess, a spokesperson from Bank of America. “The key difference between SafeBalance Banking and our more traditional checking accounts is that there are no checks and no overdrafts.”

The rules issued in 2010, found on the Federal Reserve’s website, state that they do not apply to transactions made by automatic bill payments or check payments.

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