This Way To The Killing Pits

When banks wonder why everyone in the world thinks that “banksters” should be thrown off cliffs en masse, this would be one of the reasons.

From my bank (First National Poundoflesh, LLC) comes this little snippet:

So let me get this straight, you fucking Shylocks:  you institute a bullshit fee for “low debit card usage” (Ignoring the fact that it’s my money you’re sitting on as it earns interest for you), and then you have the unmitigated gall to post tips on how to avoid the fees?

Why not just eliminate the fee to start off with?

Actually, the reason they encourage use of the debit card is, of course, the transaction fee they levy on the retail outlet each time the card is used.

So if you don’t use your debit card that often, what you should do is buy something small (like pack of gum or a single can of Coke) several times a month.  No low usage charge, and practically nothing to the bank for the transaction fee.  Here’s the math:

Monthly low usage charge:  $8
Ten debit card transactions (to avoid the fee) @ (say) $1.50 ea. :  $15
Transaction fee total (@1.75%):  $0.26 income to the bank.

Add this bullshit to the 25,000 other reasons to hate banks.

14 comments

  1. I agree with everything you hate about banks (though you can switch banks – it’s still a free country – at least for the moment) and much thanks from those of us who’ve never done the math, but…
    Shylock is a tainted word. And yes! it may well fit, though some time in the far distant future we can have a long talk both about how Antonio had been continually baiting Shylock, as well as how Shylock (and his co-religionists) came to be in the money-lending business during that medieval period. Still…

  2. So they are charging you if you don’t use your debit card enough? Former bank I dealt with had a maximum number of debit card usages per month (something like ten times I think). That included ATM withdrawals. You were only allowed to use an actual teller something like 4 times a month before they started charging you for that privilege as well. Needless to say I switched banks when an option came available.

    1. Yeah, different accounts have different rules like that. My checking account is free, but only if you have at least one direct deposit over a certain amount each month. A maximum number of transactions is not that uncommon for free checking accounts that are limited, say, to students or retired people.

      This kind of BS is why check-cashing places exist. The only fee is the flat 1% (or whatever) they charge for giving you cash. No screwing you by reordering your deposits & withdrawals in such a way as to maximize the number of NSF fees they can hit you with, for example, and no nags to please let them sock you with a $35 NSF fee rather than being embarrassed by having your card declined, etc.

  3. I had a very nice relationship with my small town bank when I had two business accounts, my personal account and I even got a savings account started for my sister. The manager was very nice (very attractive too, but that of course, would never influence me) and then she had the nerve to retire! I was a stranger there after that, so I went to a credit union. I suggest you look into that as they treat customers better, in my experience than most banks.

  4. Thirty-plus years ago, I opened an account at a local Credit Union that promised on their slick and colorful advertising circulars that new accounts would not be charged service fees, interest, etc. Over the years, as these institutions often do, they have announced the need to charge this fee or that, interest on other things, and not too long ago, low debit card usage fees. It must be an industry thing; one starts it, others fall in line.

    But they don’t charge me. I was an asshole years ago, and I kept the advertisements, copies of applications, and user agreements. Charge me? Fee me? No, I don’t think so, because “none, ever” means just that. Am I a big-time, heavy hitter depositor in their institution? no, but I can be just as big an ass when it comes to my money.

  5. They can shove debit cards into a warm, moist place of their choosing. I’m with Chase in the People’s Republic of New Jersey. No account fees if we keep some reasonable-for-adults minimum balance or get direct deposit.

    I can’t think of the last time I’ve ever used a debit card to make any kind of purchase, however. Probably close to 10 years ago. Even a can of soda or a slice of pizza goes straight onto one of eight rewards-generating credit cards, which are paid off on time and in full every month. So far it’s gotten me 2 free trips across the Atlantic in coach, and one in Business class (worth about $7,000 cash-equivalent). I still have enough points saved up to do this at least 4 more times if things ever open up again.

    I don’t pay for anything in cash either, so no need to use a debit card for ATM withdrawals—I have the same $20 bill in my wallet that I put there several years ago—I deposit cheques using my mobile phone, and only when I need to make a large transaction or deposit a Very Substantial Cheque will I go to the teller (who insists I use the debit card to prove I’m me).

  6. “The bar needed a £77,000 subsidy from the taxpayer to keep running — for peers who get a £313 daily attendance payment.”

    So, do they need a bigger subsidy to put up with idiots like that, or just outsource the peers to a better caliber of man who would know enough to brown bag from home and spend the rest at the bar? £313 a day ought to get one well inebriated and still leave a decent tip. While they are at it they could hire the un-employed stewardesses to wait tables, Hooters style. I’m up for the job, it’s just the stimulus package I need.

  7. Not quite. The fees banks charge businesses for transactions are a fixed amount PLUS a percentage…
    And still they’re lower than the fees credit card companies charge for transactions.

  8. I use a credit union, Kim, and I pay nothing in fees for savings or checking. No low balance charges, no low use, nothing.

    1. I too have been a credit union member for more than a decade. No fees for accounts, no low balance or low debit card usage charges, only a $5.00 cost to open your starting savings account, which stays in your savings account until you close everything out. And as a CU member, you have voting rights in the CU.

  9. It’s more than the fee businesses get charged when you use your Debit card. It’s the ability to track what you purchase, and then develop profiles which can be sold to businesses for targeted advertising, and sales. That is the same idea behind supermarket loyalty cards. You get a “discount” for allowing the supermarket to track your purchases. It’s worth a lot of money to a business knowing X consumer spends $ amount per week, with the following usual purchases. That opens up all kinds of possibilities, avoiding marketing things the consumer has no interest in, and offering things the consumer might buy, in the money band the consumer lives in.

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