I've been a Bank of America customer for over thirty years. It happened by accident, when I first opened a checking account as I headed off to college. That first account was at a local bank that got swallowed up by a regional bank that eventually was taken over by Bank of America. The names changed, but my account continued on.
When Bank of America announced they plan to charge $5 per month for debit card use beginning in early 2012, I figured our relationship was over--that I'd take my checking account, my two savings account and my credit card and go elsewhere.
For some reason, I thought that would show 'em!
But my retired banker sister has set me straight.
The truth is, Bank of America doesn't want me as a customer in the first place. I don't have $5000 in any of my accounts. In fact, I don't have $5000 even if you combine all three accounts. My mortgage is within 2.5 years of being paid off. More to the point, it's at a different bank. So that's the bottom line--Bank of America would be happy to see me go.
Forget that! I'm not in a mood to make Bank of America happy.
So--what to do?
It turns out the answer is easy. My account at Bank of America is free because I have a direct deposit from my employer made to it. I can continue that, but I can also easily transfer part of that money (the part that I refer to as my 'walking around money') to another bank--a credit union that does not plan to charge for debit card use. In the meantime, I can keep using the online bill pay that Bank of America provides for free, as well as the free savings accounts.
And if Bank of America doesn't like this?
Too bad. So sad.
I do recognize that some day the bank may figure out a way to get rid of me.
But that debit card charge won't be enough to do it.