That’s not a typo. Remember when banks used to give everything away for free? You could go into a bank and get all sorts of freebies (read this article from 2003: http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/bank/20030919a1.asp). The free toaster sounds awesome. Boy! Have times changed…
In June, Suntrust began charging customers $5/month for simply using a debit card. Gaining more attention, Wells Fargo (in selected states) is testing a new $3/month charge for using a debit card. I’ve read quite a few people’s views on the fee and no one seems to be on board. Obviously no one is going to be pro fees; but when Netflix changed their fee structure I opposed, but understood. I understand charging a customer an overdraft fee when they spend money they don’t have. Penalty fees – I understand. Charging for things of value – I get it. I’m willing to pay. But charging when there are so many alternatives (cash, credit, switch banks) – I’m not getting it.
Netflix lost some customers from their announcement, but a lot of people are going to stay (and Netflix will make more money). The difference with the debit card fees is that there’s more competition. With there being a bank on every corner, why would I pay $3-5 for something that I can get for free across the street?
To finalize my thoughts – I think this is a huge mistake – not only for these specific companies, but for the economy. Many years ago, I thought we were headed towards a paperless world. We need to get rid of the inefficiencies of writing checks and the inconvenience of carrying currency. Unfortunately, this is a step in the wrong direction. My message to the stagecoach: I hope no one else comes on board.