Saturday, October 8, 2011

The REAL Way to Stick It To Bank Of America

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.


Bob Lowry said...

Or, just don't use the debit card!

If you use a credit card that charges no annual fee, gives you a cash rebate, and you pay it off in full each month, then you have no need for the debit card, and you make some extra cash each year.

Keep the debit card to access the ATM machine (no charge for that...yet) and you beat the system for a little while longer.

Grace. said...

You are, of course, right, Bob. I could always just use cash. But I'm going to pass on the credit card idea--right now my cards are in the ice tray of my freezer. They are going to stay there until I gain a lot more self-control!

Anonymous said...

My mom has one account left at boa everything else has been moved to the credit union. The only one left is my dads pension that she recieves and they are giving us the run around on moving that so the Credit union will be doing it on tuesday.

I have to say I don't miss boa at all


Anonymous said...

Yes! Check out some credit unions they most likely have all the same services but NO fees. I've been a CU member for 30 years and pay no fees. LOVE my credit union.

Consuelo said...

I'm in agreement with Bob. We have one credit card that we use for everything. It is paid off in full every month and pays cash back quite generously. The key, I think, it to shop carefully and get the best possible deal BEFORE putting anything on the card, then enjoy the further discount that cash back provides! We don't have a debit card and I can't see a reason to get one. Dave Ramsey has rightly been very critical of BOA--why would anyone want to give them $60 per year in order to access their OWN money???

Juhli said...

Do ask your credit union about direct deposit, online banking, and free online bill pay. Mine offers both plus every other service I would use from a bank for no fees and great service.

MJP said...

Grace - You have identified several reasons not to do business with BOA and not one reason to keep an account there. I too was a long time BOA customer, with IRA accounts and two mortgages. I dumped them over a year ago. You should too. I now bank with a community bank that pays 3% on checking deposits up to $25k. The account is free and all ATM charges are reimbursed. Look for a "rewards checking" account in your area or online and get rid of the bank that doesn't want you.

Roberta Warshaw said...

I agree with Bob. Don't use the debit card. I never use mine at stores. I don't want anyone to be able to take money out of my bank account except me:))

Grace. said...

MJP--the one reason to stay with B of A now is to ANNOY them and possibly COST THEM money! They will charge the $5 a month only if I use the debit card somewhere other than an ATM--so I don't plan to do that.

Barb said...

Grace, unlike some others I use ONLY a debit card, however, I only use it as a visa with signature,never with a pin..done it all the way around the world more than a few times. so Iw ould not get rid of the debit card, I would however use it always as "check card" with te visa.

In my case I did leave BOA immediately after their website was down for a full 24 hours. being the wife of a veteran I now bank at usaa.

MasterPo said...

Fact is a lot (if not most) of the big commercial banks don't want the little customer/personal account no matter what they advertise. They want large depositors and commerical accounts. But they have to take small/personal accounts by Federal regulation.

MasterPo has had several unhappy dealings with large commercial banks. If it wasn't for the plethora of ATM's MasterPo would have been gone a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you are complaining? The banking changes are due to the Dodd/Frank bill Congress passed as part of the hope and change Obama promised all of us. So that banks will never fail us again.

And you are actually upset over a measley $5 charge? We're talking about $60 a year. One latte or McDonalds meal per month.

You can't stick it to BOA. They will stick it to you. Now and forever. I also can't believe that you don't have $5,000 cash in an account.

Aren't the debit cards the same ones that can be used as a credit card? Do they have a Visa or Mastercard insignia on them? If so, use the debit card as credit and you will pay no fee. My bank changes $1 per debit card use but if I select credit, there is no fee.

End of story.

Oh, and at the end of next month, my bank is discontinuing those ridiculous rewards program. Of which, I never used at all anyway.

We wanted banks to change. And now they have. We didn't expect change to be free, did we?

Arkansas Patti said...

Thanks so much for stopping by TNS and commenting.
I'm with Bob. If my bank tries that, I will go with credit card that offers cash rewards. You get to borrow money for a month, intrest free and get paid for doing it.
BOA may not want the small customer but surely they need the several hundred thousands that exhist. That does add up.
We just have to keep rolling with the flow.

Sandy - yesiamcheap said...

Servicing your account will probably actually cost them more. So, if you want to stick it to them, get your direct deposit into that account for only what you need to pay the bills or as pocket money and don't use any more of their services.

Grace. said...

Sandy--that's the plan!

Jerry said...

I am over B of A. We're closing our account and moving it to USAA who we have an account with already. Getting out of their grasp will be our insurance that we aren't charged these ridiculous fees. I think it will lead to a huge exodus for them.

Anonymous said...

B of A just nixed the $5 fee:

Now, what can we you about the rising costs of health care?

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