Free Checking Could Soon Disappear -- Would That Be an Unfair Decision by Banks?

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June 17, 2010— -- The popular free checking programs offered by many banks may soon be a thing of the past.

Under pressure from new government regulations that curtail their profits from things like credit cards and overdraft fees, some banks will soon eliminate a perk that has become the status quo over the last decade and helped many low-income and middle-class Americans, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Federal regulations going into effect at the beginning of next month mean that banks can no longer charge overdraft fees without customers' permission, and that's expected to cost banks hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

That income currently helps to cover the costs of those "free" accounts, which actually cost banks between $250 to $300 to maintain per account per year, according to the Journal.

Bank of America and other financial giants could start charging a monthly fee for basic checking accounts as soon as next year. To avoid the fees, customers will have to keep a certain account balance or use other services from their bank, like credit cards.

Our question to you today -- Would banks be in the wrong if they eliminate free checking?