Free checking may be nearing extinction at large banks as they attempt to recoup lost debit interchange revenue, but at smaller institutions the product is not even an endangered species.

Nearly two thirds of big banks have eliminated free checking since the end of 2009, adding fees or changing the terms of some 4 million consumer deposit accounts, according to the research firm Moebs Services. The cuts were largely in anticipation of the Federal Reserve Board's new restrictions on debit interchange, which will slash the revenues that banks earn every time their customers shop with their debit cards.

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