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Posted: 1:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011

Online banks continue to offer free checking options

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MONEY-SAVING MOMENT: The nation's giant monster mega-banks have signaled their intent to raise prices on checking accounts with a variety of new fees. The goal, as best I can tell, is to get $100 minimum out of every customer who has a checking account. And that's just the starting point.

Some people value convenience above all else and will pay the new fees. Others, however, will not. I told you recently that smaller local community banks and credit unions generally aren't looking to squeeze every penny out their customers.

But there are other ways to think outside of the box of being with a giant bank. For those who are Internet savvy, there's always been INGDirect.com and their Electric Orange checking account, which is a no-fee account.

Now ING has a new competitor in Ally.com. Ally's Interest Checking account has no monthly fees, no opening or minimum balance requirements and free online banking/bill pay. You'll get 1% on the Ally checking account, but that's better than zero percent at a giant bank and being charged fees.

So next time your giant bank tries new ways to take advantage of you, you can choose to let them do it....or you can take your business elsewhere.

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