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Is it true, as The Free Press article stated, that "...most companies still charge $5 to $7 a month for this [Online Banking] service...."? The article profiled an individual consumer who paid $3.95 monthly for online account access at BB&T Bank, just for online access and not including Bill Pay.

In the spring of 1995, I briefly tried out online banking with US Bank, one of the pioneers of online banking. At the time, US Bank Online Banking was a separate software program and dial-up service rather than on the World Wide Web - and dropped it after the two-month free trial ran out. The monthly fee was $5.95 a month, plus the access number was long-distance from the area I lived in at the time.

Back in 1995, if I had banked with Wells Fargo (which at that time didn't operate branches in my state), I could have had free online banking access through the Prodigy Classic online service. Wells actually offered online-banking access through Prodigy as far back as 1992. Prodigy operated as a non-Internet, non-web-based dial-up service and in the early 1990s was the marketplace forerunner of what America Online is today. (Does anyone else here remember the "old" Prodigy Classic?)

Anyway, due to the monthly fees and lack of local-access numbers for the dial-up service, I didn't return to online banking until almost 4 years later.

I didn't think there were many banks left that still charged for online-banking access. It would be interesting to know the source of the Free Press' information to back up their statement that most institutions still charge for online access.
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