Wells Fargo adds $7 monthly fee for checking accounts

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - if you've got a free checking account at Wells Fargo, you likely won't have it for long, unless you meet certain criteria.

Wells Fargo customers in six states who had free checking accounts will start paying in May. Those states include Georgia, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania.

And a Wells Fargo rep tells us the bank will eventually introduce the fee in the Carolinas, but he could not say when it would happen.

Customers with an Essential Checking Account will be charged seven dollars monthly, unless they keep a minimum balance of $1500 in their checking account...then Wells says it will waive the fee.

Ditto if you can get a direct deposit of five hundred a month.

If you opt for online statements instead of paper, Wells will charge you $5 a month instead of $7.

Wells says it hasn't offered free checking to new customers since 2010, though previously existing customers were safe.

But that rule, apparently, isn't working.

The bank says it has to tighten its belt. The plan is to close an undisclosed number of branches.

Still, shuttering them won't be enough to replace revenue lost to new financial rules like capping debit-card fees.