Media Coverage

Banks simplifying checking account disclosures

Bowing to pressure from consumers and Congress, major banks are simplifying the information they provide to customers about their most basic product — the checking account.

Bank of America Corp. said Wednesday that it was adopting plain-language disclosures that fit on a single sheet of paper, as suggested by the Pew Charitable Trusts, a Philadelphia nonprofit that has been outspoken about consumer frustration with lengthy legal terms and conditions.

The changes were spurred by complaints that banks — which caused the financial crisis and were bailed out by taxpayers — had embedded hidden fees and penalties in dozens of fine-print pages describing supposedly free checking accounts. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. had previously adopted revisions.


Pew's Safe Checking in the Electronic Age Project sought to have the disclosures fit on a single page. Project director Susan Weinstock said three focus groups told the organization that more information was better, so the account information, even simplified, wound up taking more space.

"They all said they wanted disclosures about all the fees for the checking accounts," Weinstock said Wednesday.

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Safe Checking in the Electronic Age
Checking & Banking

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