JPMorgan Chase, the largest consumer bank in the United States, has issued a warning to its 86 million customers: free checking accounts may soon come with a fee. CEO Marianne Lake attributes this potential change to new regulations from Washington, specifically an $8 cap on credit-card late payment fees and a $3 cap on overdraft fees, proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Impact of Regulatory Changes

Lake emphasized that these proposed regulations will significantly increase the costs of everyday banking services. In response, Chase plans to pass these costs onto its customers, potentially charging for services that are currently free, such as checking accounts and wealth management tools. This move is expected to ripple across the banking industry, with other banks likely to follow suit.

Broad and Significant Changes Expected

“The changes will be broad, sweeping, and significant,” Lake stated. “Those who can least afford it will be most affected, and access to credit will become more challenging.”

Consumer Response and Historical Context

Historically, banks have threatened to shift regulatory costs onto consumers. Following the 2010 financial crisis regulations, banks warned of new debit card fees due to capped card charges. However, many banks refrained from imposing these fees after facing consumer backlash and threats to switch banks.

Scale of New Regulations

This time, banks argue the situation is different due to the extensive nature of the new regulations. Besides the CFPB’s proposed caps on fees, there are plans to further restrict debit card fees and charges imposed on software companies like Venmo and CashApp for using customer data. Additionally, new bank capital rules would require banks to hold more reserves against mortgages and credit card loans, potentially tightening credit availability.


As financial regulations evolve, consumers may need to adjust to the possibility of increased banking fees and limited access to certain services. Financial literacy instructor Alex Beene noted, “Banks like JPMorgan Chase are essentially telling customers, ‘If we can’t get money from you one way, we’ll find another way.’” This development underscores the importance for consumers to stay informed and be prepared for changes in their financial landscape.