Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Might be time to make a switch

So, by now we've all heard the news that Bank of America is going to start charging customers $5 a month for debit card fees. . .because they aren't making enough money.  I promised myself I wouldn't editorialize (much) on this blog, so let's just suffice it to say that I don't think the people who are in C-level positions at large banks are in danger of facing foreclosure.  (Well, not anymore at least, for Bank of America.)  They are doing just fine.  They will survive without our $60 a year. 

There are ways to avoid these fees, first of all.  They are not practical for everyone (for example, some people's situations may make it difficult or impossible to maintain a minimum balance), but if you can do them, you'll be able to avoid them.

But--maybe you are not confident that you'll be able to make these steps.  Maybe you don't care--maybe it's the principal of the thing.  You want to tell the bank to take their fees and . . . anyway.  You want to Make a Stand.  (Look, I'm all for that.  I joined my credit union when I saw how much Big Bank, Inc. was charging me per month.  It was obscene.)

You can switch to a bank or a credit union that will not charge you this fee with a clear conscience. Promise!  But. . .there are some things you have to keep in mind before you go switch to a credit union or a small, local bank. 

Another thing: try to make sure that when you use your debit card, you do so only in ways that will not incurr other fees.  I'm part of a credit union through an old job (huzzah!) and I'm extremely lucky in that my credit union will reimburse me for charges I incur at out-of-network ATM's.  However, I still take pains to use ATM's in my network because I swear that one day, they will drop that benefit.  Things are tough for everyone.  I'm just sayin'.

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