Starting May 4th: Wells Fargo fee waivers now even harder to get

I got a message in my inbox from Wells Fargo the other day. Starting May 4th, transferring money back and forth between linked accounts will no longer be an easy way to waive their $10 monthly fee. Now you have to either have more money, or juggle things around like this:
“You can waive the current $10 monthly service fee when you have three additional linked accounts or services (such as a Wells Fargo debit card, savings account, online banking or direct deposit) and one of the following:

  • Maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance, OR
  • Maintain a qualifying monthly direct deposit of $500 or more1, OR
  • Maintain a monthly automatic loan payment from this Package checking account to a Wells Fargo home equity/personal loan or line of credit, or Wells Fargo Home Mortgage® loan”         (Source: my Wells Fargo message inbox)

I’m not staying. As soon as my May “Qualifying Direct Deposit” (SSDI) drops in, I’ll be closing my Wells account for good. Of course, there’s another big reason to get out that I just found out about last week.

Wells Fargo is the second largest stockholder in a private prison company called GEO Group. Now, full disclosure, I worked for six months at a private juvenile prison in Missouri. Even though they pretended to care about the kids and rehabilitating, it was still an awful place. And the private adult prisons are worse.

So next week I better go back up to BECU again and see if they’ll let me open an account. Because it’s not just about the fees. I could waive those with my direct deposit. I cannot let my money support private prisons, especially since I know better.

If you want to read the full fee message, it’s below the fold. I’ve included for an FYI, and because I know there are other folks like me who skim stuff and throw it out. This one’s important. Thanks to the customer service folks who put it back for me. 🙂

Upcoming changes to your Custom Management® Checking account
The March statement for your Custom Management Checking account included a message about changes to your account. For your convenience, we’ve summarized the changes below.
What’s changing
Effective May 4, 2012, the $25 monthly automatic transfer, Save As You Go® transfer and daily automatic transfer of $1 or more are no longer available options to waive the monthly service fee.
The current $10 monthly service fee is not changing. You can waive the current $10 monthly service fee when you have three additional linked accounts or services (such as a Wells Fargo debit card, savings account, online banking or direct deposit) and oneof the following:

  • Maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance, OR
  • Maintain a qualifying monthly direct deposit of $500 or more1, OR
  • Maintain a monthly automatic loan payment from this Package checking account to a Wells Fargo home equity/personal loan or line of credit, or Wells Fargo Home Mortgage® loan
If you do not meet the new criteria for the monthly service fee waiver, the monthly service fee will appear on your account statement on or after June 4, 2012.
Effective June 4, 2012, if you are assessed the monthly service fee, you can receive a discount of $2 per month when you set up and receive online only statements for this account.
What you may need to do
Automatic transfers are no longer available to waive the monthly service fee. Please review the new monthly service fee waivers carefully as it may be necessary for you to take action to ensure your account is not assessed a monthly service fee.
What isn’t changing:

  • The monthly service fee on your checking account will remain the same and there will continue to be options to waive this fee.
  • Your qualifying automatic transfer will continue to waive the monthly service fee on select savings accounts.
  • Your account number will remain the same.
  • You can continue to use your existing debit card and checks.
  • Your automatic payments, transfers, scheduled online bill payments and direct deposits will continue uninterrupted.
  • Your account will continue to be FDIC-insured up to the applicable limits.
You will continue receiving the same benefits and services including:

  • More than 6,300 Wells Fargo locations and 12,000 ATMs
  • Free access to Wells Fargo Online® Banking with Bill Pay
  • Telephone customer service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
If you have questions, or would like to receive a free financial review to see if you have the right accounts and services to meet your financial goals, please contact your local banker or call us at 1-800-TO-WELLS (1-800-869-3557), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Thank you. We appreciate your business.
Sincerely,
Wells Fargo Consumer Deposits Group
1. A qualifying direct deposit is a direct deposit of your salary, pension, Social Security, or other regular monthly income, electronically deposited to your account by your employer or an outside agency. Transfers from one account to another, or deposits made at a banking location or ATM, do not qualify as a direct deposit.

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.

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