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Consumer Checking Accounts (New Jersey)

Last Reviewed: June 2020

A New Jersey Consumer Checking Account is a deposit account established pursuant to section 3 of N.J.S.A 17:16N and with respect to which the account holder is permitted to make payments to third parties or others by check.

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Consumer Checking Accounts (New Jersey): Summary

The Consumer Checking Act requires that all credit unions that offer regular checking accounts also offer New Jersey Consumer Checking Accounts. A New Jersey Consumer Checking Account shall be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. An applicant for a New Jersey Consumer Checking Account shall provide the depository institution with the same information an applicant for a regular checking account is required to provide at the depository institution.

The Consumer Checking Act required that the New Jersey Department of Banking establish the criteria of New Jersey Consumer Checking Accounts. They include:

  1. The initial deposit amount, if any, necessary to open a New Jersey Consumer Checking Account;
  2. The maximum amount, if any, permitted to be required by a depository institution as a minimum balance necessary to maintain the account;
  3. The number of checks, if any, that may be used within a periodic cycle without charge to withdraw funds from the account;
  4. The number of other withdrawals, if any, that may be made by a method other than check within a periodic cycle without charge;
  5. A maximum amount, if any, that may be charged per periodic cycle for maintaining the account;
  6. The maximum number of deposits, if any, that may be made in a periodic cycle without charge; and
  7. A maximum amount that may be charged per transaction in excess of the number permitted under paragraphs 3, 4, and 6 above.

A depository institution may establish a New Jersey Consumer Checking Account by submitting an account to the commissioner for approval as a New Jersey Consumer Checking Account by providing the commissioner with information that details the features and terms of the account. The commissioner will approve or deny the account as a New Jersey Consumer Checking Account within 30 business days of receiving the information from a depository institution. If the account is not approved, the commissioner shall provide to the depository institution, in writing, the reason for the denial.

The commissioner shall, prior to declaring regulations or accepting any account for approval, review the terms and conditions of the low cost personal checking accounts currently available to consumers in New Jersey and shall consider those terms in compliance with the necessary provisions.

The holder of a New Jersey Consumer Checking Account shall:

  1. Have no less access to mail or electronic banking services, including direct deposits to the account by payors, than that offered to holders of regular checking accounts at that depository institution;
  2. Not be assessed any fee in excess of the usual fee or charge made by the depository institution to its regular checking account holders.

A depository institution must provide a periodic account statement to every holder of a New Jersey Consumer Checking Account.

A depository institution may close a New Jersey Consumer Checking Account under the same standards for fraudulent activity and overdrafts as it applies to holders of regular checking accounts at the depository institution or close or refuse to open a New Jersey Consumer Checking Account if the consumer:

  1. Has a regular checking account or another New Jersey Consumer Checking Account in that depository institution or any other depository institution; or
  2. Makes an intentional material misrepresentation in the information provided to the depository institution to open the account.

A depository institution can not require any holder of a New Jersey Consumer Checking Account to have any other account at that or any other depository institution, or have a credit card issued by it or any other depository institution as a condition to opening or maintaining a New Jersey Consumer Checking Account.

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