November 8, 2011
In Late September Bank of America announced they would levy a $5 monthly fee for certain debit card users. A month later, they dropped that idea after much huffing and puffing by the media. It seems some consumers were upset to have to pay more, and around 60,000 of them pledged on Facebook to change their bank on Bank Transfer Day.
At the risk of sounding curmudgeonly (like the late Andy Rooney), I don't get what the fuss is about. I don't carry a debit card, I carry cash. But I see people making all kinds of purchases - even small ones, like two bucks for coffee - with debit cards. Strikes me as a good deal that you could get a card you can use for everything and it only costs you 16 cents a day, on average. But I suppose if you're used to something that seems free, you would be annoyed. I say "seems" free, because last I checked, banks are not charities. They are businesses run for profit. If they are giving you something for "free", chances are pretty good you're paying for it somewhere else. Like low rates on your savings, or even a few cents more on that cup of coffee. That's because banks used to get a larger fee from your merchant when you used your debit card. The Federal Reserve capped fees that banks get for those transactions, so that income is reduced and banks will seek to earn it back somewhere - maybe you'll see where, maybe you won't. My experience is that when you don't see what you're paying - you're paying more. And the net effect of Bank Transfer Day: not much.
But no one likes a take-it-or-leave-it dictate from UltraGiantBank (or UltraGiantAnything). Consumers don't need a special day to look for better service, to deal with local business more in tune with their needs. Brighton Securities is right where it's been for 42 years (5 years in Batavia). Unlike the UltraGiants, we're Experts in You.
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).