This is a different type of post – one that I have not done here before but have considered for quite some time – it is an opinion post. I will occasionally take a few moments and explain my view of a topic that is hot in the news, world, or perhaps something that is being discussed on Twitter / Facebook / Google+.
It is not my intention to offend anyone, persuade anyone, or change your mind – but more of an avenue for my to spill my thoughts and feelings.
Ok, pleasantries out of the way now – lets get onto the topic here: Personal View – BoA ATM/Visa Fee
So, Bank of America wants to charge its “customers” a $5 fee per month that they use their debit/visa card for purchases unless you maintain $20,000 in deposits or have a mortgage with them ( NY Times 9/30/2011 ). They are joining all the other banks that are doing this or talking about it as well – Chase, Wells Fargo, and others – and all this is because the government has imposed limits on fees charged to merchants. Since the government has decided to step in and “protect the merchant” from extra fees, those fees are being made up on the consumer now. Of course, the merchants are not lowering prices on their items, so we can see how well that all worked out for us now, eh? But I digress.
The initial reaction I had to this fee news was WHAT!?!? That does not sound fair considering the average American does not know how to save any money. It sounded like Bank of America was trying to cheat and steal from the little guy out there – the single mom who is working two jobs to raise her child; the dad who’s wife has passed away and now needs to raise their children alone; the family who has fallen on hard times and is dipping into savings; or the average American who just spends and spends. Yet the more that I thought about this who concept, the more that I started to see a different side of it.
What side is that? Well, perhaps this is what the average American actually needs. Today most people do not track their spending, they just monitor the available cash in their account or rely on overdraft protection. That $10 lunch here, $15 lunch there, that shopping trip where they just put things in the cart as they know they have money in the bank, the kid who asks to have a new tow, all add up but never really get tracked by the average person. As long as they have money in the account, they use their Visa/Debit card. Granted, that has help some people to avoid credit card debt, but the flip side of it is that people do not track their expenses. We spend money that we have, not save it.
I am hoping that this new fee will make people think before a purchase – do I really need to go out to lunch every day or can I pack and save that fee? Perhaps people will start using cash again, there is no fee for using the BoA ATM with your ATM card – grab cash and go shopping. Not enough cash, then you do not buy that extra stuff. Perhaps this is what some Americans need to start saving money to prepare for retirement, to balance their budgets, to stop spending on things that are worthless. Who knows, maybe we can use this to learn and make things better for the average American.
Just something I was thinking and wanted to share. Please feel free to comment if you wish.