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A local bank advertised a free checking account. I signed up. Now the bank is charging me for checks and for overdrafts. Is the bank allowed to do that?

Under banking laws and regulations, a bank cannot advertise an account as "free" if it charges a regular maintenance or activity fee for the account. But the bank can offer a free account and still charge for certain services, such as check printing, ATM use, or overdrafts.

A bank must disclose fees and charges to the consumer when a deposit account is opened. Review your account agreement for policies specific to your bank and your account.

Last Reviewed: April 2021

Please note: The terms "bank" and "banks" used in these answers generally refer to national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches or agencies of foreign banking organizations that are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Find out if the OCC regulates your bank. Information provided on should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion of the OCC.

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