iPhone for $49 & so long free checking

January 6, 2011 8:28:32 PM PST
How you can get the iPhone for just $49? Plus, more customers must soon say goodbye to free checking accounts.

This is a trend among banks that isn't pretty.

More and more financial institutions are charging maintenance fees for checking accounts, particularly accounts with low balances.

Bank of America customers now have more options but also the potential for more fees.

Many will now be charged a monthly maintenance fee of anywhere from $9 to $25 depending on the B of A program they choose.

The new accounts will be tested in Arizona, Georgia, and Massachusetts this month and are scheduled to be rolled out nationwide late this year or next. To avoid the fees or requirements like minimum balances, you can stick to B of A's most basic account.

E-banking waives the service fee if you bank only online and through ATMs and receive only electronic statements.

Meantime, Bank of America is just the latest to change its fee structure.

A recent study by Bankrate.com shows the percentage of banks offering free checking dropped to 65-percent last year. Wells Fargo replaced its free checking accounts with Value Checking.

Pay a $5 monthly fee unless you make a monthly deposit of $250 or keep a minimum balance of $1,500.

New Chase customers aren't off the hook either.

They'll have to pay a $12 fee starting next month unless they also maintain a minimum balance of $1500 or make a monthly deposit of $500.

Comcast to offer live streaming on tablets

NEW YORK (AP) - Comcast says it will offer both live and on-demand streaming of TV shows, movies and other video on tablets later this year, turning the increasingly popular gadgets into another outlet for its cable service.

Comcast Corp. said Wednesday that its subscribers will be able to stream content they would normally watch on TV live over the Internet to iPads and Android tablets, as long as they do so at home. The tablets, in essence, are treated as another TV screen.

Comcast did not say exactly what content will be available, though it's likely to be similar to what people would watch on their TV sets. Verizon Communications Inc. announced similar plans for its FiOS TV service last year.

Comcast is also making a select number of popular TV shows and movies available for streaming any time through its Xfinity TV iPad app. The app will work anywhere there is a wireless connection. Initially, this will include about 3,000 hours of content from HBO, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax, but this will grow over time.

Comcast said it will also bring that service to Android devices later this year. The move is part of Comcast's continuing effort to offer cable programming over the Internet as more people come to consume video content this way. It's intended to curb competition from the likes of Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., which are offering a growing library of entertainment content online.

Comcast's approach is that as long as people are paying for its cable service they should be able to access it on whatever device they want. The company already offers TV shows to its subscribers online, to be watched on computers.

Comcast made the announcement in connection with a Citigroup investor conference. It was the day before the official start of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

AT&T to start selling iPhone 3GS for $49

DALLAS (AP) - AT&T Inc. will start selling the previous-generation iPhone - the iPhone 3GS - for $49 starting Friday to customers who buy the smart phone with a two-year service contract and data plan.

The wireless company, which is the exclusive U.S. carrier for the iPhone, made the announcement Thursday. AT&T said it will include iPhone 3GS devices sold through AT&T and Apple.

The iPhone 3GS was released by Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Inc. in 2009 and had been sold for $99 by AT&T and Apple since the release of the iPhone 4 last June. It can use the same iOS4 software as the iPhone 4.

AT&T, which is based in Dallas, is currently selling refurbished iPhone 3GS' on its website for as low as $49.