About Ken Tumin

Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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BB&T Is Ending Its Free Checking Account


BB&T is following many other large banks in ending its free checking account. Readers had first noticed this mentioned in their BB&T statements last November. It's now posted at BB&T's checking account page. Starting on June 3, 2011, BB&T Free Checking accounts will be changed to BB&T Bright Banking which has a $10 monthly maintenance fee ($12 for IN/KY) unless you meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Direct Deposit (One monthly ACH Direct Deposit of $100 or greater per statement cycle)
  • $1,500 ($2,000 in KY/IN) average checking balance per statement cycle
  • $6,000 ($7,500 in KY/IN) combined in deposit and retail outstanding loan balances
  • Any BB&T personal mortgage

For BB&T Free Checking accounts opened between February 22 and April 10, maintenance fees will be waived for June, July and August 2011.

Closing a BB&T account

In my post from last year, several readers reported that BB&T makes it difficult to close accounts. If you can't make it into a branch, you may be required to mail in a notarized letter requesting that the account to be closed. One reader commented that he wasn't required to mail a notarized letter, but instead he was required to mail a copy of his ID with the letter.

Potential Future Fees

You'll have to keep an eye on your statements for future new fees. The Charlotte Observer recently interviewed BB&T's CEO, Kelly King. In the interview King was asked about the Durbin Amendment which will cap debit card interchange fees. King said that if it goes through, "we'll undoubtedly have to have a charge for a debit card."

Other BB&T Fees

BB&T's other checking account fees are inline with other banks. The fee for using non-BB&T ATMs is $2.50 (per CSR) and the overdraft fee is $35 (per FAQs).

BB&T Bank Overview

According to the Charlotte Observer, BB&T is the nation's 13th largest bank. It has $151 billion in assets and almost 1,800 branches throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Texas. BB&T added 346 branches and expanded into Texas in 2009 when BB&T acquired the failed Colonial Bank.

Related Pages: BB&T, checking account

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Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
As a shareholder in BB&T, I'm glad to see this.  I'm tired of people trying to get all the conviences of a bank checking account for nothing.
John 'n Texas
John 'n Texas (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #2
I hope everybody closes their accounts at this bank ; ).
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
It's time to switch to alliant!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #4
To John "n Texas,

Good luck in closing your account.  I opened mine online and when I wanted to close it I was told that I had to "visit the branch where you opened your account."  I told them I opened it online and therefore I am closing it online.  They refused to close it.  So, I remove all of my money, called them, and told them the account was closed.  They responded that it was not closed, it has a zero balance.  I got the name and address of the president of BB&T for the area where my account was opened and I was going to contact her.  Before writing to her I called BB&T once more to find out the status of my account.  The CSR responded that my account was closed.  If I recall correctly it took about one month to have them officially close my account.  (They kept on insisting that I come into a branch in person.  They are no branches close to where I live.)

I hope that anyone who wants to close their account will not have to go through want I went through.

Good luck!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
I have branches located to where I live, but i don't do business with them.  They never post their rates on their website.  You have to call them in order to obtain them.  That tells me that they are too lazy to update their website or too cheap to hire someone to do it.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #6
Service is terrible at BB&T
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
If BB@T is good for NASCAR, then they should be good enouph for anyone. I think all of us should support a bank that supports NASCAR, even though they pay only .17 % interest on their 5 year CD's. Why be greedy and ask for more when they are a devout NASCAR sponsor?  
eric2   |     |   Comment #9
I was able to close my account by just mailing in a letter. I didn't need it notarized or to send an ID or anything else. I mailed the letter to a branch.

There is no fee to close the account as long as it's been open 90 days. However, there is a $5 fee to have the branch mail you a cashier's check.

You can also close the account by just withdrawing all the money. once it is at zero balance it will be closed automatically according to the branch i spoke with.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #10
My biggest problem with this change is actually not the $10 fee. I don't mind being charged $10 a month to have access to free online banking & account funds transfers from savings to checking, etc.

My biggest problem... is that if for whatever bad economy, stupid low paying job that you can't get out of or change, reason... BB&T can now charge you a $35 overdraft fee on their own $10 service free, if you don't have $10 in your account. I think this is horribly wrong to do to people struggling right now. You know... the people who mostly have or need this free checking account? They're the ones who just got ****ed. All for a bank who isn't struggling.. to just get more money. **** their customers I guess....

(Btw, yes, I confirmed with an online rep that you WILL get an overdraft charge for not having $10 in your account to cover their fee.)
Adam Talbott
Adam Talbott (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #11
#10 said it well..  in this economy, it is not the right approach.  What's funny to me is the new minimum,  which I think was $1500 - I mean, who keeps that much in a checking account without going below it?    I appreciate them letting me know via phone call about the change but it's a strange move in a recovering economy. 
Aaron McLamb
Aaron McLamb (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #12
Well, I guess it's time to close my account.  They ****ed me out of nearly $300 in overdraft fees on $2.00 purchases since their policy is to pay the highest bill first.  I had ONE $80 check card purchase and EIGHT purchases less than $5.  If they had done it the other way around, I would have been happy to pay the *ONE* $35 overdraft fee.  I know it was my fault for overdrafting, but that was outrageous!  I asked the branch manager kindly how she would feel if that happened to her and she said that it this was not about her and to move on to the next subject.  Agggghhh.  These people don't remember where they came from....

I have been leaving a balance of less than $0.50 in my account for the last year to make them pay to send me statements every month.  I only made them pay about $3.00, but every statement that I shreaded made me a little happier.

I have since moved to First Federal, a local bank, where the tellers know my family by name and ask about each of us when one of us goes.  They are so nice, plus their fees are very competitive (which I have not had to pay in the 2 years that I've banked with them).

Overall, I will *NEVER* do business with BB&T again!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #13
Unlike several of the other posters, BB&T has been really good to me over the years.  That being said, I'm shopping around to find a better bank.  Times are tough for my family right now and I just can't afford that extra $10 expense per month.  I don't think I'm the only one in this situation either.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #14
After 20 years I decided to close my account at BB&T. For the past 3 years I've maintained over $5k in my regular checking account but I am very upset by their response that it is to cover the money they are losing by new regulations. Well, I think they have used my money for these past 3 years and now want to charge me $10 if I don't keep it over $1500? Good luck with that.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #15
I have been with bbt for many many years, but if this is how it is in this bad economy i will close mine also. People are laid off, struggling to make it the way it is $120 a year can pay a bill for me. With water,food,gas ect going up the last thing we need is this..do they not want us to make it? For the economy to recover??? How are we supposed to with them taking every dollar we have?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #16
If BB&T wasn't struggling before, I hope everyone closes their accounts and they see how it is to struggle.  I know I'll probably be closing mine now.  Of course, I'm sure the government would bail them out in the end with our money anyway.
Joshua Taylor
Joshua Taylor (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #17
I suggest you all put your money in a mattress. Every time you change banks, they'll go the same way as BB&T. sooner or later. This is just for people who don't have direct deposit. I'm qualified to be exempt from the $10 maintenance fee since my Social security checks are direct deposited every months. I'll be switching to Farmer's Bank and Trust, after that if they go the way, I'm stuffing all of it in my mattress. God's treasure is much more than financing. I'm not worried about people's financial debt. I'm worried their spiritual debt.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #18


Anonymous   |     |   Comment #20
I agree with ****-****wwwwwwwwwwww BB&T!!
Ann (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #21
LOL----**** 4 president!!!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #22
Closing my account Tomorrow! BB&T sucks.. not Paying $10 a mo. just to have a checking account.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #23
Why should I have to pay for my own money???!!! No way b.s.!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #24
They just lost $13,000 of my money. My wife and I do joint accounts with them and it is convenient for bill paying. However, she doesn't have the min 1500 per month in her checking. If my name was on her account, then we could get the min to be 3,000, by association. But, that defeats the purpose. These banks are running a dying model, and soon online banks like USAA will dominate the market. In the meantime, **** you BB&T, I will not be backed into a corner!
Raleighite.com (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #25
I just closed my account at BB&T. Most braches are open till 6PM on Fridays and some in my area are open on Saturdays. I was able to close one of my two accounts. Word of warning, if you want to close your account don't use your card at a gas pump they can take 3-10 days to clear the charge on your account and you can't close an account with pending charges.

With financial institutions in NC now allowed to charge sky high intrest rates on short term loans I really don't see the need for all these fees. I switched to the North Carolina State Employees credit union where you actually earn over 1% interest on your checking balance and it only costs $1 a month, no ATM fees, overdrafts cost .50 cents, and a slew of other benefits.

Look into your local credit unions. They are a much better alternative for banking than large comerical banks. With so many people never really needing the services of a branch office since you can get your information from websites, and your cash from an ATM why go with a big comerical bank.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #26
We've been with BB&T for many years. I will not pay $15. a month for a service i can get at another bank for free. One of the new charges is for maintenance. What maintenance? It's not like they have to repair or upkeep something. Going tomorrow TO FIND A NEW BANK !!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #27
I have been with BB&T for years and just lost my job. Now all I have now is .50cents in my account and thinking it was automactally be canceled I now have a fee of $13.00 to pay back someway somehow I will get the money and cancel it. You would think a bank would cancel a person if the person has the account with .50 cents on it that it will be canceled just like that. Well guess BB&T does not care at all. I agree with numbers 2, 3, 4, 5 61, 11-16, 24-26 it is just not right.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #28
I just checked my statement and BB&T has charged me almost $20 this month in fees!!!  $10 maintenance fee, on top of the regular $4.95 plus fee and then there is also a $5 return statement fee??????  What is all that???  I barely keep $20 in the account!!!  I am really done with BB&T this time.  They just keep ****ing me over!  Having an account with them 10 years and have to deal with this BS!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #29
To anonymous #1 the big share holder.What a joke. do you think the common sense person supports your position. One of the criteria for having the charge waived is you have to have direct deposit. Think about it. You get penalized for depositing cash. Wow! Thats what a bank is. You take your money there and deposit it into your account. thats not good enough. or taking your weekly check and depositing it isnt good enough, got to be thru adp.all one world government on its way. Stupid Stupid Stupid. penalize me for depositing cash into your bank. You really think your share prices or gonna rise when people figure it out? REALLY? lol
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #30
Wow.  I have never seen so many ungrateful people.  Everyone is out to get something for free. Do you ever think that maybe they are tired of watching people overdraft their accounts and then never pay them back when they can't pay?  All they are doing is making sure the people that are using their checking system is worthy of using the BB&T name.  So if you give someone a BB&T check, chances are they will accept the check whether than question the funds behind the check.  And the whole basis behind direct depost is very simple.  Direct deposit means weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly.  So, if you drop off a handful of cash, they have no idea if you will be there next week with another handful of cash.  With direct deposit they know you are employed and a constant flow of money will be coming into their system.  Get a clue people!
Bob (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #31
This is the last straw for me with BBT. They have the wrong billing address on my debit card and told me to "come in to change it." I went to a branch in person and ordered checks and deposit tickets. They never came, so I called the branch about it. The woman who helped me said "she didn't remember me coming in." ??? I went to another branch and re-ordered them. They came in with the wrong address on the deposit tickets and the checks weren't duplicates. Bye Bye BBT.
Jeff (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #32
I have $58,000.00 in my checking account and today they when ordering new checks, they told me there would be a $17.00 charge and my interest bearing checking account doesn't earn one red cent.  **** BB&T.  Let's see how they stutter and stammer when I tell them tomorrow that my 58 grand is going somewhere else!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #33
I'm sorry, but I agree. Its time to go. I cannot even get through to a client services agent after hours

by phone....Something I never had any problem with before the switch to Bright Banking.

They used to be available 24/7 to help with account issues.
CHARLOTTESVILLE VA GAL (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #34
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #35
I've had no problems with BB & T till they began charging $4.00 a month by the end of the year that would be $48 of my hard earned money. Being a single parent, I could've used that to pay a bill or buy diapers/necessities for my daughter. I'm closing my account and going to Navy Federal instead.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #36
i am leaving this month after 10 years of business. bbt....you thieves.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #37
Go to Wells Fargo they have free checking accounts and much better costomer service!  I have to pay BBT money just to close the account I have with them because they had been charging me maintanance fees and I hadn't been using the account and didnt realize until today!!! But I love Wells Fargo!!!!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #38
Why is it alright for a company to change the account we signed up for, free checking?  This would be considered unethical in any other line of work.  This was pre-planned by the execs, knowing in a tight economy many people will sign up and then later be stuck with their fees.  Free???  I don't think so.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #39
Oh, and #1, you are glad to see the company you have a small stake in taking advantage of people for your own short-term gain?  That says a lot about your character.  Don't think you are part of the elite, either.  They will ship your job to Asia, as well and we'll see how long you hold on to your stock.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #40
Just opened a FREE checking account with a bank that begins with "W" and ends with "via."  It took me less than 2 minutes and good bye BBT.  This may be only temporarily "free" like the BB&T account, but I'll take what I can get because it's free for now. 
plastick (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #41
Burglars Bandits & Thieves
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #43
I just checked my account and there was a maintance fee taken out of my account. I have direct deposit and I think there was a mistake made. On the next business day I am going to call the bank and find out what is going on.
Annoyed (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #44
I am also on direct deposit and was charged a $12.00 maintenance fee.  I sent a message to the bank and was told that it is there policy to charge ANY account that does not have the minimum balance maintained.  I was told differently last month when I spoke to the branch manager.  So I am switching to Chase who STILL does not charge a maintenance fee if you receive direct deposit.   What many do not understand is that banks get the use of your money by not paying any interest on the money so they do make money on your money.  I think this decision to charge everyone $12.00 will lead to the demise of BBT as all people on Social Security who receive direct deposit will move their accounts to one of the many banks who do not charge.  Poor business decision.
MC (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #45
Wow. Some people are really, really spiteful to BB&T. Did you guys forget that if you had DIRECT DEPOSIT, you wouldn't be charged the maintenance fee? (I had DD a few months prior before BB&T switched to Bright Banking, and wasn't charged a fee.) You don't have to maintain two qualifiers, just one. Geez.

And I've been banking at BB&T for six years. The local branch I frequent, everyone's been polite and courteous to me whenever I had to deposit a check. Some of the older tellers know me by name. But it seems like 95% of the posters have it out to BB&T, and some of these fees people have been complaining about are overdrafts. (Something that people could've avoided if they watched their account regularly.)
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #46
well i just found out that i was charged a $25 maintenance fee, let me tell you i have more than enough money in that account, never overdrawn, never been charged this fee before and the rep i talked too could only tell me what prevents a fee and not what caused the fee and one reason being below 150,000 on a home mortgage, well hello chick, i have been below that balance for years and never been charged before! Im out like shout, BB&T can kiss my money goodbye and as soon as i can figure out how to pull my mortgage from them i will!
A&E2011 (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #47
It is so easy to blame BB&T. But if you think about this just a little, it is perfectly understandable.....banks were told by the government in 1999 that they are required to make loans available to low income, bad credit, jobless people because they are entitled to the same luxuries others enjoy, and then the loans go bad and it is the bank’s fault!!!!  In 2008 congress "Bailed" the banks out. America didn't like this and wanted CHANGE! and we got it!  In July of 2010, the democratically controlled congress passed the Dodd-Frank law. Now banks have more regulations on the fees they can charge. Prior to this bill it was the idiots that couldn't balance their acct that were paying for us to have these "free" checking accounts. Banks can no longer allow people to use there debit card when funds aren't available unless they sign an form acknowledging the fees that will be charged. NOTHING is FREE. So now we all pay!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #48
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #50
Listen up folks.  Banks make a **** pretty penny in interest on deposits.  If you have a non-interest bearing account, the bank earns interest on YOUR money that you don't get!  They also use your money to make loans. They should be paying us to patronize their banks.

I bank with Regions Bank and just found out today my free checking account I've had for years will now cost me $8 in maintenance fees and $4 for debit card.  All of which used to be free.  I can't afford $12/month and will be closing my account.  There's is no way I will allow them to earn interest on my money and charge me fees too. 

It is plain old greed and thievery.  Banks got bailed out with taxpayer dollars and now charging those same taxpayers fees.  This is Outrageous!

I believe a lot of people will be closing accounts and you can count me as one of them.  Already found another bank that has no fees and will be switching over to them. And when they start with their fees I will close that account and be done with banks for good. Enough is enough.

I can't wait until the numbers start adding up that they are losing money because people have closed their accounts and refuse to pay the bank fees.

PROTEST by boycotting the banks that charge fees on free checking.  Show them what we're made of and it ain't money.


Former customer
Former customer (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #52
I blame myself for not reading my estatements, I guess my only excuse is with having online banking and checking my accounts multiple times a week I didn't see a need to check a statement. I have many transactions so did not notice the maitenence fee that was showing up each month until November when I promptly went in and closed my accounts-the ones I could as my husband being a joint owner had to be there (so I was told). One account was closed, cash given to me and that weekend we went to a different branch so he could sign and suddenly my closed account had a negative $5 balance for a returned STATEMENT. I did not update my online account when I moved so they mailed me a statement which was returned. It cost me $5 for that. Also at this different branch I was told my husband did not in fact need to sign for me to close the accounts. LOVELY waste of my time.
banking? (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #54
Well if its agreed that the bank is making us pay money for us to use them, which is fairly reasonable since they give out bogus loans to people who cant afford them, just so they can use what money we put in to cover their loses ect, ect. Welcome to american economics. So this is $12 less dollars they get from me.
Chris (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #55
BB&T is a WONDERFUL bank.  These people are complaining about the high minimum balance requirement but if you have direct deposit, there is no minimum balance requirment.  On the same note, if you do not have direct deposit, that must mean you are retired and the $1500 should not be an issue.  I have been with BB&T for 3 years and have never had any problems other than what was my own fault.  I even had an fraudulent charge on my checking account, and they were very nice and closed that account and opened me a new one right there on the spot.  BB&T is one of the best banks out there right now, certainly better that BofA or Regions.  REGIONS IS BAD BAD BAD!!!!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #56
BB&T showed no interest in a refinance of my mortgage with them. I went to a credit union and they welcomed the opportunity to refinance. Hey BB&T shareholder, BB&T ****ed up by losing this piece of business. I have since closed my BB&T savings and checking accounts and move then to a local credit union who really wants to do business with me. BB&T you can say you are better but in reality your not! 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #57
Not true.... You do not have to be in the branch that you opened your account at to close it. I do it for people from many different places.
Victor (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #58
I called repeatedly to get the 10-day payoff on a boat loan sent to the buyers bank.   I finally resorted to a conference call between the buyer, the buyers bank, BB&T and myself.   The boat sold but not before BB&T drug it out for nearly two weeks.  They nearly cost me the sale.   Then I received my checking account statement in the mail.  Turns out BB&T charged $2.00 to my checking account for calling and speaking with a human being regarding the boat loan.  How is that customer service? How is that even possible?  I would like to add that all accounts with BB&T have been closed.  If you have a loan with BB&T and need something simple, like a payoff, GOOD LUCK!   If BB&T stock is performing, it shouldn't. 

BTW-  It should be illegal for any bank to charge a fee to cash a check drawn on that bank.  They are a bank, it is their job to cash checks written by their depositors.  Payroll or otherwise.    Wallmart charges a check cashing fee, but they are a Retailer.   See the difference??   If the govt bailouts (taxpayer funded) of all the bad paper these banks made were not enough to turn your stomach, the customer service will. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #59
I just closed my BBT account. I switched to Huntington which has no fees. I work as a contractor so direct deposit is not an option. I have just gone through an endless cycle of fees from them, but the worst is they charge you $2.00 per call to the 800 number. Obviously if you are bumping into a lot of surprise fees and confusing bank situations, you are going to need to call the number, so they get you again. I have less than no respect for this terrible bank. I'm closing my account today and SOO HAPPY !
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #60
this is a money hungry  bank bank STAY AWAY
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #61
I have been with this bank for 10 yrs good bye will be closing monday f-u!!!! Kiss my butt no more free money from me!!
Ohio Girl
Ohio Girl (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #62
I've banked with BB&T for 6 years. For the past 3 years, I haven't felt like a valued customer. They refused to convert my loose change into dollar bills. They take 3 weeks to post mail-in deposits to my account. They're behind the times with technology. I see now they've finally instituted mobile deposits, but too little too late. 

The final straw is this monthly fee on my once free account. They already make enough interest off our money when they invest it or use it to make loans without giving us a big enough cut. I didn't sign up for this poor service and these shenanigans. Good bye, BB&T. I eagerly await the day you fail.
happinessga (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #63
this is the worst bank ever. I went to the atm to withdraw $40 from my account but the machine was not working. went to the teller and i had $40.12 in my account. they gave me my $40.00. i had to fill out a check because the lady said that is how they do their withdraws. ok. i didn't know. anyway. i had another charge post at midnight which i didn't have enuf in my acct for..so ok..$35.00 dollars. How about this **** bank charged me another $35.00 for the $40.00 check (which was suppose to be a withdrawal) on my account. This bank lady name Holly telling me that I didn't have the $40.00 in my account really? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. i had $40.12. I am CLOSING THIS **** ACCOUNT MONDAY after i talk to the manager. Please people we have the power. This is not a good bank. I am making a complaint with the BBB as well. I maybe only 1  person..but I MATTER!!!. #really****ed
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #64
Getting charged Return Statement fee this doesn't answer question how much is minimum balance to avoid FEE?