Wells Fargo & Co will no longer offer free checking for all new customers opening accounts at the bank, a company spokeswoman told Reuters on Friday.

The San Francisco-based bank -- one of the largest U.S. consumer banks -- introduced a $5 monthly fee for its basic checking account service on July 1, eliminating two kinds of free, basic account services the company previously offered.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Julia Tunis Bernard said the move will only affect a small percentage of new customers, as most new accounts open what the company calls checking packages, or a bundle of banking services.

The change will not affect existing customer accounts or Wachovia Bank customers.

New customers can have the fee waived by maintaining a $1,500 average daily account balance, or having a monthly direct deposit transaction of $250 or more.

The move comes as Bank of America Corp and other major U.S. banks are examining reinstituting account fees and other service charges as financial reform has curbed overdraft charges and other sources of noninterest income.

(Reporting by Joe Rauch; editing by Carol Bishopric)