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Report: Beware Senior Checking Accounts

A new report by the Pew Safe Checking in the Electronic Age Project finds that far from being a plus for seniors, checking accounts geared specifically towards seniors may offer no appreciable benefits or even cost more than traditional basic checking accounts.

Pew looked at accounts offered by 12 of the largest U.S. banks and 12 of the largest credit unions. Only five of the 24 offered senior accounts, which broke down roughly into one of three different categories. One of these categories was low-cost/low-fee accounts:

This type of account offers seniors both lower required monthly fees than a basic checking account and lower minimum balances to waive that fee entirely. For instance, one charges seniors a higher monthly fee ($10.00) than the corresponding basic account ($3.99), but, unlike the basic account, allows that fee to be waived by maintaining a low minimum balance ($250.00). Seniors could save $48 to $96 per year with this category of senior accounts depending on the balance they maintain. In addition, these accounts include miscellaneous fee waivers (check images, discounted checks, etc.).

Overall, if you have an account with a lot of money it, as a senior you can save a little with some of these accounts over traditional basic checking accounts, but most of the perks are marginal or services are waved that generally don’t get used much anyways. Bottom line, comparison shopping and determining what you’re looking for in an account are still your best bet.

Read the whole report here.

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