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A Bank of America sign is seen in Chelsea, New York on January 8, 2018 in New York. (BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

One of the most basic and essential banking services—and the gateway to establishing credit—may now be a privilege only for the well-to-do, or at least the financially stable and predictable. Need to pay for basics, like housing and utilities, with a check? You may pay more to do so than your higher-earning neighbors.  

In January, Bank of America announced the end of its Free Checking service. The bank was one of the largest, and only remaining, brick-and-mortar banks to offer this service. Existing customers are now funneled into the bank’s Core Checking program, an option that requires customers to keep a minimum daily balance of $1,500 or make at least one direct deposit a month of $250 or more. If your balance dips below that point, you’ll be charged $12 a month. In other words, if you don’t have enough money to meet those qualifications, get ready to get more broke.

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