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Friday, October 14, 2011

Tell Your Big Bank Where to Stick It!

Posted by on Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 9:55 AM

We're doing it here at The Stranger. Tons of people—36,447 people, as of right now!—are doing it on November 5th, now known as Bank Transfer Day (here's the Facebook page). You should too.

  • Aaron Huffman

Meanwhile, today either is or is not the day that Wells Fargo is instituting a $3 fee for debit cards. Tipper Chris wrote on Wednesday, "I left my ATM today with a warning from Wells Fargo that I looked into, and it turns out they're starting a monthly $3 fee for all debit card holders starting October 14." We had a trusty intern call, and they told her that "certain accounts in certain states" will get charged a $3 fee per month for using/having a debit card starting in November. Both Chris and the intern experienced long hold times, and both got the distinct sense that they weren't the only ones calling about this. B of A plans to introduce a $5 monthly fee soon for using your debit card for purchases as well. More on this bullshit here.


Comments (39) RSS

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Phoebe on NE 79th 1
The right gets bent out of shape over taxes, and the left gets bent out of shape over fees.
Posted by Phoebe on NE 79th on October 14, 2011 at 9:58 AM · Report this
Posted by ser on October 14, 2011 at 10:07 AM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 3
..the right gets bent out of shape over cake, the left gets bent out of shape over pie.
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on October 14, 2011 at 10:07 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 4
I like pie.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on October 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 5
Pie is good.

Buy local.
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 14, 2011 at 10:14 AM · Report this
internet_jen 6
I got bent out of shape when BoA lost my paycheck and all the different branch locations and customer service phone number weren't any help with solving the problem. There is not an over arching narrative connected to your account, no notes section or anything. If you're in the middle of a human error fix that is taking weeks it is only helpful to talk the initial person who helped you with your problem.

It doesn't matter if you're tying to do grocery shopping in the u-dist and your card doesn't work, the u-dist branch of BoA will KNOW NOTHING of your problem stemming from a downtown branch.

I was a fully automated bank customer until I switched jobs, deposited my check in person and there was a domino effect of human error. I'd prolly have switched sooner if I had to interact with customer service more. This was 2007 and BECU's high interest rate on 500 was still kind of new. I set up my BECU account on my iPhone while I spent an hour in the u-dist BoA branch trying to get access to my $40 for food and bus change.
Posted by internet_jen on October 14, 2011 at 10:23 AM · Report this
Simone 7
Nice birthday present Wells Fargo. Assholes.
Posted by Simone on October 14, 2011 at 10:27 AM · Report this
Keister Button 8
Dear individualistic frugalistas: it's also okay for you to jump the gun and close your account before announced charges go into effect.
Posted by Keister Button on October 14, 2011 at 10:31 AM · Report this
One very crucial fact, that few are aware of (guess they haven't been following bankster non-rules and non-regulations for forty years like some of us) is that under the federal banking regs, the banksters aren't legally mandated or required to provide the customer with their most up-to-date bank balances.

This, naturally enough, causes undue problems over time with many customers wrongly believing something has or hasn't cleared their accounts yet, leading to increasing penalty fees to the profit of the banks.

Bank of America has led the way in this over the years, with other banks (second is Citigroup) close behind (not sure about JPMorgan Chase, but given their history, they should be in the running as well).

This should clarify things for some people out there.
Posted by sgt_doom on October 14, 2011 at 10:35 AM · Report this
That's it, that's the last straw.

Buh bye, Wells Fargo.

Check out your local Credit Unions: I'm moving to one that actually offers more free ATM access than BoA or Wells Fargo, by linking up with other credit unions: including at 7-11s accross country!

Posted by judybrowni on October 14, 2011 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Bank of America --> BECU.
Did it last week.
Posted by -ink on October 14, 2011 at 10:44 AM · Report this
So what is the % charged to the store by the bank for the debit transaction? I know the standard for Credit Cards is 5%. I assume it is probably lower for debit.

It feels like we're headed back to the 1930's, with banks essentially becoming a poor place to keep money.
Posted by Chris Jury on October 14, 2011 at 10:52 AM · Report this
approachingmidnight 13

Where you keep your money, and where you spend your money.....can make your voice heard as much as your vote can these days.

No more banks using my money, on their lobbyists, to fight me.

I voted BECU this spring, and love it.
Posted by approachingmidnight't+argue+with+me+buster on October 14, 2011 at 10:53 AM · Report this
And for those who may be curious (speaking of banksters and why securitization is the primo cost driver in student loans, mortgages over the years - both residential and commercial, auto loans, every form of loan out there, and healthcare rising costs) about student loans:…

Seriously excellent graphic above!
Posted by sgt_doom on October 14, 2011 at 10:53 AM · Report this
leek 15
The weird thing, and I say this in the process of moving from Wells Fargo to BECU regardless, is that I swear Wells Fargo had this monthly fee for using your debit card in stores, etc., years ago. Maybe they took it away and are now bringing it back? I know I used to pay it.
Posted by leek on October 14, 2011 at 10:59 AM · Report this
Posted by sgt_doom on October 14, 2011 at 11:29 AM · Report this
Posted by sgt_doom on October 14, 2011 at 11:29 AM · Report this
Of course you guys are going to close your account at your Wall-Street mega-bank because you're taking action against the Wall-Street banksters in solidarity with OWS, and not because of a little monthly fee, right?
Posted by Spindles on October 14, 2011 at 11:35 AM · Report this
seatackled 19
So is it better to close your account, or to keep a dime in whatever no-fee, no-interest checking account that they offer, just to make them keep maintaining it for you?
Posted by seatackled on October 14, 2011 at 11:35 AM · Report this
thatsnotright 20
NPR had a very intersting feature today on Bank of America and how they lost 7,000 customers on the 1st day they announced their $5 debit card charge. The big banks are losing mega bucks on personal banking because they have not crated a product the market wants. Too bad for them, they want a free market, they have to live with the consequences.
Posted by thatsnotright on October 14, 2011 at 11:48 AM · Report this
Yep there is no possible way a rush on the banks could turn bad for all of us. Nope... never happen....
Posted by Jonathank5 on October 14, 2011 at 11:54 AM · Report this
stinkbug 22

I've had a BoA account for something like 12 years (started back when it was still branded locally as Seafirst) and honestly I haven't had any mess ups with them yet, so I still have an account there. And I meet the minimum requirement to not incur any of the (current) account fees. I need though to learn to use my BoA debit card a lot less often so I can total stop using it once they kick in those fees.

But a few weeks ago I moved most of my BoA money elsewhere (an online savings accts that will give me 1.35% for awhile and the BECU acct I've had for awhile). I tried explaining via email to BoA why I was doing so, but they just picked up on the brief mention I made of the upcoming $5 debit card fee and responded with a standard response just about the fee.

Posted by stinkbug on October 14, 2011 at 12:09 PM · Report this
Geni 23
Fuck the banks. I've had my accounts at BECU since 1979 and have never regretted it, not for one second. Every accountholder at BECU is a part-owner. That's never going to be true at the big banks.
Posted by Geni on October 14, 2011 at 12:10 PM · Report this
Re. 24
Yep. I'm joining this fuck-you. WaMu->Chase->BECU, here I come.
Posted by Re. on October 14, 2011 at 12:19 PM · Report this
merry 25
@18 - One can't do it for both reasons?

@21 - The situation in 2011 doesn't compare to the situation in 1929 - we have credit unions now, a viable and FANTASTICALLY BETTER alternative to big banks.
Posted by merry on October 14, 2011 at 12:23 PM · Report this

Why would I give up Rewards Points and CashBack from Chase?

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on October 14, 2011 at 12:25 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 27
I'm really curious how much money banks have been able to save over the years with the invention and increased use of ATMs, credit cards, and debit cards. I bet your average, relatively young bank customer costs them virtually nothing to service (and of course the banks benefit from their depositors' money).

Maybe the solution isn't to switch banks, at least not yet. Maybe the solution is for BoA and Wells Fargo customers to cancel their debit cards and use only cash, only collected from a live teller. The banks' response to that would be fucking epic. Then, when they ultimately start charging to use a teller, walk out on them permanently.


I've known so many BoA customers who've had that happen to them, and BoA is so incredibly unrepentant and unhelpful when they pull that shit. They won't cover the costs of bounced checks or late fees for rent and other bills when their rank incompetence catches up to them. Worst fucking bank in the world. Even worse than Chase.
Posted by keshmeshi on October 14, 2011 at 12:31 PM · Report this
Roma 28
Join a credit union. I've been with BECU since 1988.
Posted by Roma on October 14, 2011 at 12:44 PM · Report this
alithea 29
if you are a person who has a long history of not being able to manage your money, you might be denied membership to a credit union, and thus stuck in a cycle of being stuck with a shitty bank who charges you $35+ every time you overdraw.

this is me. i have old medical bills in collection (because i couldnt afford them, because i didnt have health insurance 6+ years ago), and thus BECU denied me membership.

i've read a little about express credit union ( which caught my eye specifically because they teach money management classes and they focus specifically on people who have are low to moderate income, but i don't know of anybody who actually uses them.

any ideas besides "win the lotto"?
Posted by alithea on October 14, 2011 at 12:45 PM · Report this
blip 30
@18 You realize those are two slightly different, barely discernable shades of the exact same concern, right?
Posted by blip on October 14, 2011 at 12:49 PM · Report this
Switch to a Credit Union.

Every major banking institution directly funds the war.
Posted by Tommy Smith on October 14, 2011 at 2:17 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 32
This so reminds me of what happened to banks in BC when everyone started switching to VanCity.

Started as a very small credit union and grew like wildfire.
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 14, 2011 at 2:25 PM · Report this
Roma 33
1: The right gets bent out of shape over taxes, and the left gets bent out of shape over fees.

But not feebees!
Posted by Roma on October 14, 2011 at 3:48 PM · Report this
@ #18
I fired my bank because, like them, I have to keep an eye out on my bottom line. So now I am a part owner, and not a profit-maximizing cog for the shareholders.
Posted by Jimbbrew on October 14, 2011 at 8:12 PM · Report this
Chase is piloting debit card fees in "certain areas", or so I was told by a loan officer at the Wedgwood Branch.

Know is weird about Chase branches lately? So many empty desks. This loan guy I talked with does loans in Wallingford and Wedgwood, dense single family home areas that should be doing re-fis like crazy right now, given the low interest rates.

But then, if the terms are anything like what I was offered (lower payment but near-tripling of mortgage insurance costs, or a lower payment provided I had 10K to front), that may explain the dearth of business.
Posted by cloudveil1 on October 14, 2011 at 8:22 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 36
I've been returning empty postage-prepaid envelopes for years, decades even. Just because I'm ornery that way.

I doubt the 0.01% of the population that will start returning them now because of some guy's youtube video will have any noticeable effect on the banks, except for the minimum-wage-making guy that runs the automated envelope-opener. Yes, that's a real job, I knew a guy that did that exact job, some time ago.

However, in the bigger picture the numbers of folks switching to credit unions is noticeable, and has to be getting the attention of the bankers. Good on ya, all of ya that switched. I would switch but I've been a happy CU customer ever since about 1987 or so, after remarkably bad customer service from Shoreline Savings (remember them? They acquired People's Bank in the early 80's, and royally fucked it up).
Posted by Dr_Awesome on October 28, 2011 at 2:57 PM · Report this
they are all just bent.
Posted by mickie3 on June 5, 2012 at 2:57 AM · Report this
Posted by healthcareIT on October 9, 2013 at 8:28 AM · Report this
thanks for posting this
healthcare IT
Posted by healthcareIT on October 9, 2013 at 8:31 AM · Report this

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