Earlier this month, I started on a rampage about big banks introducing fees that lasted for a few days. I even wrote a follow-up blog post with more detail about why I was so upset.
If you’re confused why I’m upset about an action that is driving customers to PerkStreet in droves, here’s my recap: I’m not against banks making a profit; I’m against the deceptive act of advertising credit cards as the “free” alternative.
Today, I wanted to share a more proactive idea our team here at PerkStreet has been working on to help our industry.
Our team left cushy jobs (and paychecks) at big financial service firms because we were sick of fighting the type of behavior that takes advantage of customers. We started PerkStreet because we wanted to do stuff that made people better off, not lured them into making self-destructive choices. That was 2008. And we think we’ve accomplished quite a bit — our customers are now earning millions per year in cash back.
Recently, protests on Wall Street, media scrutiny of the entire sector and continued shenanigans by big banks made us rethink our impact on the industry. We offer a refuge for so many of you who have been burned by big banks, but if we really want to change the industry, we need to up our game.
Last Friday, I joined founders from two other financial service companies, Betterment and BillGuard, at a press conference in New York City to issue a challenge to our entire industry.
Our goal? Increase the transparency and emphasis on customer rights within banking as a whole.
We announced a declaration of our customers’ rights at that conference. You can see the rights we showcased at PerkStreet.com/Declare.
With that unveiling, we challenged our industry to publicly state and be held accountable to their principles by adding their own statement to their websites.
Betterment and BillGuard couldn’t have been more eager to leap on board. In fact, we shared the idea with them ahead of time and they were in before this thing even started. To see what Betterment thinks about how you should be treated as an investor, visit Betterment.com/Declare. And as I write this, BillGuard is building a similar page to be hosted at BillGuard.com/Declare.
On Friday evening, after our press conference, six more companies took this initiative a step further by agreeing to issue their own SlashDeclare pages. The movement is catching quickly, and has been dubbed The SlashDeclare Initiative, pronounced “Slash Declare,” because each participant is planning to host their own customer rights at CompanyURL.com/Declare.
The movement is gaining steam as even more companies approach us about creating their own SlashDeclare pages.
Eventually, you should be able to check for a SlashDeclare page at any financial institution’s website. At least, that’s what we’re aiming for.
In truth, there has already been some backlash. A handful of the other institutions we’ve asked to participate have turned us down because they don’t want to upset the status quo. That’s fine. We’re ready to lead a revolution that puts financial services back into the hands of the people.
What’s next? We’re working with the other organizations participating in SlashDeclare to build a website at SlashDeclare.org explaining the initiative, and we’ll soon be announcing other participants in a release to the media. Watch for more on SlashDeclare and help us get this thing going by tweeting using the hashtag #SlashDeclare, or by reaching out to your favorite financial institutions and asking them to join the movement.