SunTrust ups ante to avoid checking fee

"We are constantly evaluating our product mix and making pricing adjustments as necessary based on numerous factors including, but not limited to, our cost of doing business and the competitive marketplace, balanced with the needs of our clients," spokesman Hugh Suhr said Thursday.

The changes go into effect Aug. 24 and affect customers who have Everyday Checking, Student Checking and Solid Choice accounts.

To avoid a $7 monthly service fee, customers with the bank’s basic Everyday Checking account must maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500, instead of the current $500 requirement, or must have a monthly direct deposit of at least $100. Overdraft fees also rise to $36 from $25.

SunTrust’s Student Checking and Solid Choice Banking customers face a $2 fee for using non-SunTrust ATMs and Solid Choice customers also will no longer receive refunds of up to $10 a month for surcharges imposed by non-SunTrust ATMs.

SunTrust has 1,651 branches in the Southeast.

In March, Wells Fargo announced that former Wachovia basic checking customers who became Wells Fargo customers after the two banks merged two years ago would face a new monthly fee if they did not maintain a higher minimum balance in a basic checking account.

Wells Fargo customers can avoid the $7 monthly fee by maintaining a minimum daily balance of $1,500 or a total monthly direct deposit of at least $500. If either of those requirements is missed, the fee kicks in for the customers, who had received free checking while with Wachovia.

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