Report questions if Senior Checking Accounts are a good “deal” at all
In its report, Still Risky: An Update on the Safety and Transparency of Checking Accounts, the Pew Safe Checking in the Electronic Age Project examined checking accounts offered by the 12 largest U.S. banks and 12 largest credit unions.
Five of these financial institutions (four banks and one credit union) marketed special checking accounts tailored for seniors. To understand the costs and benefits of these accounts, Pew compared each senior account to its bank’s or credit union’s most basic checking account. Three categories of senior accounts emerged.
Given the checking account options provided to seniors, more transparent fee disclosures are particularly relevant. Financial institutions should lay out in a simple, clear format the fees, terms, and conditions of each type of account so that seniors can easily choose the account that is most appropriate. Pew has developed a model disclosure box that banks and credit unions can use to provide transparency to checking account offerings. See Pew’s model at www.pewtrusts.org/safechecking.