Monday, October 3, 2011
Oh Bank of America, Don't Do It
I'm very upset by Bank of America's plans to start charging a monthly 5 dollar debit-card-use-fee. That equals 60 bucks a year for the right to swipe your card, to spend your own money. The thing is, banks have been pushing for customers to use their debit cards. It helps avoid the whole bounce checked idea.
I am glad I am not a Bank of America customer, and I'm hoping those who are will jump ship. I hope they experience the "Netflix Syndrome" and that their plans to gain revenue backfires....not because I want to see this bank go under, but because I do not want other banks to follow suite, including my own.
Like my husband pointed out, we will just switch all our accounts to our credit union, which we are liking more and more these days. The other night I was looking over our bank accounts and noticed all these monthly fees that we'd never had before. I was quite upset and called the bank immediately. They apologized and removed the monthly fees, but I was told that I would need to go into a local branch and clear up the misunderstanding as my accounts were no longer set up the way they had been initially and the lady on the phone could not guarantee that my bank wouldn't try charging me again in the future. These accounts were savings accounts for my boys! They hardly had enough funds in them to constitute a monthly fee. I'd rather just keep their savings in a sock in a secret floorboard at my house if I'm going to be charged to have their meager pennies held in a big bank's coffers. Have I mentioned that these are savings accounts...the idea is to save money, right? Not watch your bank spend your money for you. I did not enjoy seeing money taken out of my son's accounts. They work hard for their change. It takes a lot of egg collecting to make a small impact toward their savings goals.
Since 1995 debit card usage has slowly gone up and surpassed credit card usage, which I think is good for the American consumer and good for our overall economic health. Studies show that people spend more when they use a credit card, a little less with a debit card, and they are the most fiscally responsible when they pay in cash. (You can learn these fun facts and life-changing ways if you take a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class.)
The article I read in the newspaper this mornings predicted that credit card usage would again gain popularity if banks began charging for debit card use.
I know that we will switch banks and return to the golden-olden days of checks and real, cash, money.
If you bank at Bank of America, I'd encourage you to leave! Send them a message. And if you don't, let your current bank know you'll be going somewhere else if they try and copy this latest move in bad business.