Much has been made of the recent reports of debit card fee increases, monthly fees for formerly free checking accounts, and so on. Consumers are understandably upset, and many are threatening to switch banks. But will they? Will you?
I’m curious, so I thought this would make for a good poll topic. Truth be told, switching banks isn’t all that hard. Sure, it takes a bit of time and effort, but there’s really nothing standing in your way. Except, perhaps, inertia. While switching banks isn’t hard, standing pat is far easier.
While I’m annoyed by all of these extra fees, they won’t actually impact us. Yes, we bank with BofA, but we don’t use our debit cards — other than for ATM transactions, which are free — and we aren’t facing any other fees. At the same time, I like having access to our bank and a huge network of ATMs when we travel.
Thus, we’re not planning on switching. What about you?
As always, please feel free to leave a comment to add some context to your response. And please be honest. If you’re made as heck, but too lazy to do anything about it, be sure to ‘fess up. 😉
28 Responses to “Are You Switching Banks?”
I will be impacted, but I’m not going to switch banks because I just switched from another bank that is in the process of merging with another bank. I needed a national bank since I travel for work. I won’t be paying the $5 debit card fee because I plan on switching to a credit card and paying the bill in full when it arrives and just using my debit card for atm transactions. So it will impact me but I’m just going to change how I pay for things.
I bank at BOA and so far have liked their services and the ease of using their website and also being able to transfer to family members who also use BOA. I don’t like the $5 debit card fee, so my solution is to open another checking account at my credit union, which is advertising that there will be no debit card fees and maintain the BOA account for Bill Pay and paying my BOA mortgage. The only switch is to change my direct deposit so that a small portion of paycheck hits the new credit union account to cover gas, restaurants, groceries, etc… This lets me avoid having to set up Bill pay all over again.
Erik asked, “DoesnÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½t anyone have an ethical problem with banking at a credit union?”
I have no more problem with this than I do with claiming deductions for charitable contributions or mortgage interest. The tax code is essentially arbitrary. It is a hodgepodge of whatever congress decided to implement at various times in the past. There is a difference between avoiding taxes and evading them.
I hate switching banks and changing all the important information at the same time. some times I just wish banks would reward customers rather than do things that drive them away.
I picked the first choice – my CU is not raising fees.
However, I switched about 20 years ago when my savings and loan got bought out by one bank and then another bank. It had had free checking until the second bank. Then I switched to a credit union with free checking if you had direct deposit. The credit union has pulled a few dumb moves, but normally goes back on them after protest. As a result, there’s always been an acceptable (to me) way to have free checking.
In addition, I moved most of my savings to online banks when interest rates were significantly higher, and as they all start matching each other, I’ll be narrowing it back down to one online account.
As far as the immorality of credit unions not having to pay taxes: there are loads of ways the tax and other systems are wacked out. For example, why do I get a tax deduction for a “contribution” to places that give me free admission in return? But I don’t get a deduction for monetary donations to family members in need? Whatever. I write letters to politicians, but then I just face reality, taking advantage of some of their bad ideas while suffering from others.
My recently-married wife and I had separate checking accounts at Regions Bank. They started instituting a $4/month debit card charge and a $10/month direct deposit charge if below a certain amount. Neither would affect us, but it was more a principle of the matter. We switched to a joint account at a local credit union, but I’m not happy with their service either. I could not get the online banking or bank by phone working to check my account balance. Calls to their customer service went to voicemail/unanswered and a visit to the local branch near me couldn’t help either. I finally had to go to their main office to get it straightened out. And then when I used the ATM right at their office, I was charged a $1 ATM out of network fee. WTH!!!!!
Banks sent us debit cards because of the high cost of processing checks. Go back to writing checks!
Thanks for the advice Jessica – I will be closing my old Citibank account at the end of the month and I’ll definitely make sure to download old statements. I never even gave that a thought.
Doesn’t anyone have an ethical problem with banking at a credit union? Every other individual and business in this country must pay taxes (or is at least subject to the tax system), except “non-profit” credit unions. Originally, CU’s were granted their status to help low-income people who had little access to financial services. Now credit unions are everywhere and serve plenty of middle and high income earners. There are certainly problems with “big banks”, but at least join an online bank that is subject to the tax system, rather than exempt from it.
Bucky, we just moved to Ally from Wells Fargo. We were delighted with the addition of Ally Perks, which so far has netted us money back on things we were purchasing without even realizing we were getting the perks (at first). I have the perks set to go directly into our savings, so we are adding to that each time we get money back on our purchases.
Bob, WF discontinued their rewards debit card, which was the second-to-last-straw for us. The only downside we’ve discovered is that WF discontinues all online access without warning (we closed our account and had no access at the exact same time), so we have no access to any past statements. If anyone else switches and closes a WF account, bear this in mind. They do everything they can to get you to go paperless, and then they pull something like this. Ridiculous.
I have an offer for a free $150 bonus if I open a checking account with a certain bank that I have a credit card with. The catch is that I have to do direct deposit and I think that dealing with this bank could be a hassle. I doubt if it’s worth it.
My bank is adding what I consider to be an unreasonably high monthly fee starting in November, plus discontinuing the rewards debit card that has been the single biggest reason for me forgiving poor service and not switching banks in recent years. I switched everything over to USSA (checking, savings, credit card) last weekend and as I like to keep my accounts and bill-paying pretty streamlined, it wasn’t really a hassle. Note USAA also reimburses ATM fees up to $15 a month, and the credit card qualifies me to deposit checks from home with my iPhone or scanner.
I’m not getting hit with any fees yet, but when I do, I will be looking to switch that’s for sure.
I switched a few months ago to a small bank that offers Kasasa checking (rewards). They also refund ATM fees. Interest rate is around 4%.
If you want a large network of ATMs, why not switch to Ally? They reimburse all domestic ATMs charges.
I switched to a credit union three years ago when I moved to a new state. It’s been awesome. My checking account truly is free and I even earn a few pennies of interest a month for the meager balance I keep there 🙂
I bank with bofa and although they are adding fees, since I have my emergency fund as a savings account with them they have me as “prima” (premium) customer. So even if I did use my debit card for a purchase I would not incur any fee’s.
I switched during the last round of shenanigans. The Move Your Money campaign convinced my family to move from Wells Fargo/BofA to a local credit union.
Even after being with them nearly two years, the CU wouldn’t lend us money for a home remodel despite excellent credit and good, stable jobs. Everything else was great with them, but I’m making a point by moving from that CU to another CU. Luckily there are a whole lot of options for us in the Greater LA area.
Lending Club was a great option for obtaining a loan, by the way.
I switched from Chase to PerkStreet a couple months ago and couldn’t be happier. I hear Chase is “testing” debit card fees but they hadn’t implemented them when I made the change. I had just paid them too much over the years for a variety of BS fees and was done. It was a bit of a pain tracking down every single auto bill pay – the whole process took a month & a half to complete – but the day I walked out of Chase for good was a very happy one. I seriously nearly cried because I was so unhappy banking with them.
I use my debit card for nearly all my purchases so the switch to PerkStreet has been great. Not only is the card taken anywhere (Mastercard network), but their ATM network is far wider than Chase’s. I had to drive 10 miles to pull out money from a Chase ATM but there are dozens of PS ATMs between where I live and where I work (including all 7-11s)! On top of all that, I’ve already earned $123 in ‘perks’, which can be used to buy equal value gift cards (Amazon, Best Buy, etc). Christmas is already on it’s way to being paid for just with perks!
I use a credit union so I never (so far) have had to make a decision like this.
In a hypothetical world where I banked at one of the fee-adders, it wouldn’t affect me because I never use my debit card. And if it was some other fee I couldn’t avoid, I would switch to Ing Direct or another online bank. (I already have a checking account at Ing but don’t use it for anything.)
I closed my Wachovia and BoA accounts long ago. I now bank strictly with USAA and Aspire FCU (Kasasa accounts)with no fees or minimums to worry about. USAA even released a notice in their newsletter that their checking account will remain free, no matter the balance.
Works for me….
I bank at Wells Fargo, so at this point don’t know if they will go with the debit card fee or not. If they do, I may not be subject as I have a PMA account (the one with all the bells and whistles). If I am charged a fee (we’re at two “ifs” now), I will stop using my debit card anyplace but the ATM. I will simply use a rewards credit card. Really, I should be doing that anyway. 🙂
I closed down my SunTrust account after getting the letter that they would start to charge me fees. I don’t think that I should pay a fee to have someone hold my money. If the bank can’t balance its own books and has to charge a fee, why should I trust them with my money?
I have 5 other checking accounts around town, so I am not too worried about finding good service.
I have these multiple accounts for the convenience of cashing checks and having multiple ATMs available that won’t charge a fee.
I am about to make the switch to ING Direct. I received a letter from citibank saying they will be charging $25/month for a checking account. So that amount seemed worth the hassle to transition….
We have checking accounts at Schwab. No debit card fees, unlimited reimbursements for ATM fees, free checks, and I can deposit checks via iPhone. It’s like banking in a whole different universe.
Depends. I am w/ Wachovia which is transitioning to Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo is ‘testing’ debit card fees in a couple of states.
If Wells Fargo decides to have debit card fees I’ll be switching to the Credit Union.
Made the switch 2 weeks after receiving the letter that they would be ripping me off starting in November. Made the switch to ING for the entire family and we each earned $50.00 for opening the checking account.
We completed our switch last week due to rising fees; we got some unexpected perks from the move which I blogged about elsewhere.