M&T Bank is extending new checking account options to their Northeast customer base. Customers can now choose to add any of 5 “Custom Add-ons” to an existing checking account for an monthly fee. M&T isn’t the first bank to implement this type of à la carte account line-up (see our review of Union Bank’s Banking By Design), and it likely won’t be the last. Banks are seeking ways to increase fee revenue from checking accounts without major customer revolt, and many hope an “opt-in” fee structure will be the answer.
What are M&T Bank’s Custom Add-ons?
|Option||Monthly cost||Eligible accounts|
|No out of network ATM fees from M&T||$4.95||All|
|Refund of other banks’ ATM fees||$4.95||Premium accounts only (MyChoice Plus, MyChoice Premium)|
|Free overdraft protection transfers||$4.95||All|
|Free standard checks & safe deposit box||$4.95||All|
|Free monthly credit score update||$2.95||All|
M&T’s two premium checking accounts have the added benefit of accessing some of these services for free. MyChoice Plus Checking comes with any 2 of the above services free, and MyChoice Premium customers can choose 4. Of course, these two accounts already levy a relatively hefty monthly service fee ($14.95 and $24.95 respectively), but some customers could meet the minimum balance requirements to waive this fee and receive the add-ons for free.
Are they worth the extra cost?
At essentially $10 per month to waive all ATM fees (those charged by M&T – $3 – as well as the other ATM itself or other bank) the service is really only valuable to those who expect to make around 3 or more out of network withdrawals each month.
Similarly, free overdraft protection transfers (transfers from a savings account to cover an overdraft in lieu of a $30+ NSF fee) would only be worthwhile to those who expect to overdraft on a regular basis. And of course if that is the case, you may need to rethink your banking habits.
Discounts on checks and safe deposit boxes are again only useful to those who heavily use both these services. Even so, the $5 monthly ($60 annual) fee only covers two orders of standard checks per year (50% discount after that) and a safe deposit box valued at $50 per year or less.
Finally, the credit score option would be useful for anyone keeping a close eye on their credit or trying to improve it. A $3 monthly fee is far lower than many other credit score monitoring services.
RiverRatt3 / Flickr source