A: An account can be described as "free" or "no cost" only when no maintenance or activity fee may be imposed on the account.
For purposes of determining whether an account can be advertised as "free" or "no cost," maintenance and activity fees include:
- Any fee imposed when a minimum balance requirement is not met, or when consumers exceed a specified number of transactions.
- Transaction and service fees that consumers reasonably expect to be imposed on a regular basis.
- A flat fee, such as a monthly service fee.
- Fees imposed to deposit, withdraw, or transfer funds, including per-check or per-transaction charges (for example, $.25 for each withdrawal, whether by check or in person).
Examples of fees that are not maintenance or activity fees include:
- Fees not required to be disclosed under 1030.4(b)(4).
- Check printing fees.
- Balance inquiry fees.
- Stop-payment fees and fees associated with checks returned unpaid.
- Fees assessed against a dormant account.
- Fees for ATM or electronic transfer services (such as preauthorized transfers or home banking services) not required to obtain an account.
This can be found in Regulation DD, Section 1030.8, here: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=2120cbf56d26acd37d4d37a8e7abd84c&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title12/12cfr1030_main_02.tpl