My Free Checking Hack Is Coming To An End But We Can Both Get $25

Eight years ago I opened two checking accounts with the now defunct SouthTrust Bank. Both accounts were “Bankers Dozen” checking accounts which charged, if I remember correctly, $9.95 per month, and included free checks, debit cards, online banking, and various “privileges”. When I opened the account, I was brand-new to the world of online banking and very few banks in our area were offering “free online bill pay”. So, month after month, year after year, I paid $19.90 a month for our checking accounts. Then, about two years ago, SouthTrust was purchased by Wachovia, and our accounts were converted to Wachovia accounts. Just a month before the conversion, I received four boxes of checks (two for each account) under the terms of our old “Bankers Dozen” plan. Right after starting this blog, I called Wachovia about their totally-free checking (which did not require a minimum balance or direct deposit) and I asked if I could convert from “Bankers Dozen” to “Totally Free”. The sales representative said, “Sure,” and my $9.95 accounts became free accounts. (No more fees AND a better account!  Yes!)  So, now I had two free checking accounts and four boxes of checks. The checks are stamped “SouthTrust Bank” but are still accepted by Wachovia. So, for me, over the past two years, my checking accounts have truly been “FREE”. I haven’t had to purchase checks, or worry about direct deposits, or maintain a minimum balance. But, alas, this good thing has almost come to its end. I now have less than one box of checks left and when those checks run out, I’ll have to purchase new checks. (I ran out of deposit slips a LONG time ago… I simply use the deposit slips at the bank. I’m old school. I rarely use the drive-thru. I’m a walk-into-the-building-kinda-guy.) Right now, I’m trying to conserve checks by moving ALL of my monthly payments, even local ones, to online bill pay. Hopefully, I can make this box last another six months (or longer). In fact, I’m pretty sure that I used most of the checks in 2006, because I have written very few checks in 2007. I might even invest in those checks that you print using your computer, and forgo purchasing “real” checks altogether.

One side note: I checked my mailbox three days ago and Wachovia is offering a $25 sign-up bonus for anyone who opens a free checking account. Click my “contact” button at the top of this page and I’ll email you a referral form. We’ll both get $25 (with which we could then buy checks!).

11 thoughts on “My Free Checking Hack Is Coming To An End But We Can Both Get $25

  1. Pay $20 a month for checking accounts is a rip-off. I’ve had a free checking account from amsouth for over 6 years. BTW you can get 2 boxes of checks for less than $30 from …I dont know how much you go through checks, but if you use online bill pay like me, 2 boxes of checks lasted me pretty much 2 years. So I don’t see why or how you could miss paying $20 a month for something thats free…or techinally $30 every two years if you want to count checks

  2. Amber, Did I do a poor job of explaining? I no longer pay anything for the accounts… I converted them to free accounts, but got to keep the checks…

  3. I don’t remember the last time I wrote a check/cheque! In fact, I’m not sure I ever have… If you don’t mind, what are you using them for??

  4. Ms Broke… Day Care, tithes, gymnastic fees for the daughter… I’m actually surprised at the number we’ve written… but, like you, I’m writing fewer and fewer…

  5. NCN, I am also old-fashioned by going inside the bank to transact business. I do this so that the bank personnel get to know me and my family, so if I have a need, they will know who we are. But, one thing, I only write two checks a month — one for our apartment rent (yes, I still rent ) and the other is for our church tithe. Everything else is paid by Bill Pay through the bank. It does not cost me anything and it saves me from having to mail the bills and risk them getting lost.

  6. With all the free checking accounts out there, paying for one is really unfortunate. Congrats on converting to free checking! Rather than print checks on your computer, just do online bill pay. I couldn’t imagine going back to writing physical checks.

  7. I use Carousel Checks – $23.56 for 480 duplicates, + $2.50 shipping. Like NCN I mostly use online bill pay, but there are still a few things I must write a check for, mostly kid related stuff. Still I use only about 50 checks per year; bill pay has truly changed how I manage bill payments.

    NCN, you might want to check into sending a bill pay check to your day care, gymnastics coach, etc. All you need is their name & address – the checks are sent to them by your bank.

  8. I use BillPay a lot, but I still use paper checks for daycare and my daughter’s violin lessons. I could probably set up a bill pay for the daycare though. Hmm, I should look into that this week!

  9. Mike, If you read the post, you’ll see that I was a SOUTH TRUST customer (there were no Wachovia banks in our area)… and then South Trust was purchased by Wachovia… NCN

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