Wells Fargo & Co. has stopped charging teller fees for certain kinds of checking accounts.

The accounts, ATM Checking and Custom Access, had carried $5 monthly fees for customers who used tellers for transactions that could be handled electronically.

The fees were a key part of Wells' retail banking strategy, which emphasizes electronic banking.

But last month Wells quietly began waiving the fees, said Kathleen Shilkret, a bank spokeswoman.

Instead, customers can occasionally use the tellers. The catch is that customers who use tellers too much will have their accounts changed to the Stagecoach designation, which has an $8.50 monthly fee or a $1,000 minimum balance.

The level of teller usage that will prompt such a change is at the bank's discretion.

Ms. Shilkret said Wells is dropping the fees because they confused customers. She added that the bank is confident customers will continue to bank electronically.

But a source close to the bank, who asked not to be named, said marketing pressure had also played a role, since Wells' competitors have been targeting the fees in their advertising.

Wells was getting its "brains stomped out," the source said.

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