Bank of America is planning to intrduce a new checking account, which the bank hopes will cater to the needs of the low-income customers and compete with the burgeoning world of prepaid debit cards. The offering – ‘Safe Balance’ – has been under experimentation for four years and is said to be in response to the complaints over fees and the increasing incursion of non-banks into the financial sector. Safe Balance will carry a $4.95 monthly fee that cannot be waived. Customers will not be able to write paper cheques but will have full access to online and mobile banking and automatic bill pay. The bank said the terms are a response to customers’ desire for predictable fees and protection from small mistakes. Bank of America’s traditional checking account offerings, the interest-free MyAccess and its interest-bearing checking account, will remain unchanged. The existing offerings have monthly fees that can be waived if customers maintain minimum balances or use direct deposit.