$5 dollar fee for every paycheck deposited in checking or savings account, claims Florida woman
Paul Joseph Watson
January 15, 2014
According to a Florida woman, Wells Fargo is telling its customers that they will have to pay a $5 dollar fee every time they deposit funds into their checking or savings account. The bank itself has subsequently said that no such policy has been instituted, although it will begin charging for U.S. dollar deposits sent from abroad.
The woman sent us the bank statement above which she received on Monday informing her of changes to her Wells Fargo checking and savings account.
It reads: “Effective April 7, 2014, the fee for deposited U.S. or foreign currency denominated international items, including drafts, will be $5.00 per item.”
In other words, every time a customer deposits funds into their account, be it a paycheck or anything else, Wells Fargo imposes a de facto flat rate tax of $5 dollars. However, it remains unclear as to whether this relates to domestic deposits or deposits being sent from abroad in U.S. dollars. UPDATE: Wells Fargo now says that this new fee applies only to international deposits.
The Florida woman says she was told directly by Wells Fargo that the new policy applied to domestic deposits.
“I called their 800-869-3557 Texas call center to make sure I wasn’t seeing things and the customer service rep Adelina informed me that whenever I will make a deposit of my paycheck or anything I will be charged $5.00,” said the woman, adding that she closed her account because she is a single mother and cannot afford to pay the fee every time she deposits money.
The policy sounds similar to a 2011 move by Bank of America to charge customers a $5 dollar fee for every debit card purchase, a proposal that was swiftly abandoned after a huge customer uproar.
As the language suggests, this is only related to international deposits for now, but fears have been rife for months that banks could start charging customers for keeping money in their account.
Why is this important?
Back in November, numerous mainstream news outlets reported on the rumor that banks were about to start charging fees for deposits, but that such a scenario was “highly unlikely,” and only possible if the Federal Reserve reduced its bank lending rate from 0.25%, which hasn’t happened.
While JPMorgan Chase asserted they were not planning on charging customers for deposits, Citigroup, Bank of America, SunTrust and Wells Fargo declined to comment. Falling margins on what banks make on loans compared to what they pay out on deposits is the major factor behind banks being forced to charge customers for depositing their own money.
Just three months ago, Wells Fargo John Stumpf defended the bank’s decision to continue raking in deposits from checking accounts and that he would not turn away customers.
Financial analysts have asserted that banks charging customers for depositing money would signal a major shift in the state of the U.S. economy.
According to Senior San Francisco Business Times reporter Mark Calvey, such a move would, “send shudders throughout the nation’s economy as it underscores that loan demand is so weak that banks can no longer make money on lending.”
The Financial Times also recently noted that customers, “paying just to leave money in the bank would be highly unusual.”
Should it come to pass, imposing what amounts to negative interest rates on customers would merely the latest example of banks resorting to onerous capital controls as the economy begins to meltdown. Back in November, we also exclusively reported on how Chase Bank was banning cash withdrawals over $50,000 total per statement cycle while preventing business customers from sending international wire transfers.