Dear Liz: I’ve been reading a lot lately about how banks are going to do away with free checking. I’m on a fixed income and can’t afford to pay a bunch of fees. What can I do?
Answer: First, scrutinize every mailing or email you get from your bank to learn about any changes that might be coming to your account. Many banks will still allow you to avoid fees by keeping a minimum balance, arranging a direct deposit or making a certain number of debit card transactions. If you can’t modify your banking habits to avoid the fees, consider switching your account to a credit union. These member-owned institutions are likely to continue offer free checking or to at least make it easier to qualify. You can search for credit unions for which you might be eligible at www.findacreditunion.com.