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Safe Deposit Box, Required Account

My bank offers safe deposit boxes. Last year they increased the annual fee and now they require that we also have a deposit account with them. We moved our checking account to save on the monthly charges, but we like having our valuables there. Can they force us to have an account to keep our safe deposit box there?

Banks have limited space for safe deposit boxes and when they are all being rented out, the bank wants to take care of their customers first, and yes, they can require that you have associated bank services such as a deposit account, in order to have a safe deposit box. They could also require that you have a deposit account in order to have a loan. This is common.

Banks have to follow what are known as "anti-tying rules" which prohibit their requiring non-traditional products with a banking product or service. That means as an example, they can't require you to buy insurance from them in order to have a safe deposit box. The insurance would not be a traditional banking product.

It may well be that what you have is one bank offering deposit accounts at a higher cost than your current bank, but they're offering additional products and services at a lower cost. The package together may be a better bargain than you would have paying the lower checking account fee plus the safe deposit box at your current bank. You'll have to do the math on this one.

Published on 9/29/06