Huntington Bank has a clever new advertising campaign promoting “Asterisk-Free Checking”. So many banks promise what sound like great accounts, but then you find all kinds of hidden charges and minimums buried in the fine print.
Not with Asterisk-Free Checking, they say:
A whole host of services are provided with this account, including “Free Online Banking and Bill Pay”. However, if you are planning to use Quicken to do online banking and pay bills, it is not free.
There is a $2.95 a month charge for “PC Banking”, which apparently is different from “Online Banking and Bill Pay”. That fact is buried in their FAQs which are not accessible from the detailed description page for Asterisk-Free Checking. And true to the name of this account, unfortunately, there is no asterisk leading the reader to this qualification and distinction.
When asked why they don’t disclose that charge upfront, and would they now consider doing so, a spokeperson for the bank replied:
“PC Banking is not actively promoted and is offered only to customers who contact us requesting services not provided through Online Banking. The monthly $2.95 fee applies only to customers using the extra services offered directly through Quicken® and Quickbooks®. Therefore, our Online Banking and Bill Pay services as the vast majority of our customers use them are indeed free.”
MrConsumer is not trying to beat up on Huntington Bank. In fact, it was selected as a refreshing change from how other banks advertise by hiding costly things in asterisked footnotes. However, if they talk the talk, they should walk the walk. No one put a gun to their head and forced Huntington to advertise “asterisk-free checking” and “isn’t it time you switched to a bank that believes in no surprises.” But having gone down that road, shouldn’t they have been a little more forthcoming about the actual cost of “free online banking and bill pay” for those who use Quicken?