On October 14th, Wells Fargo will begin testing something new with its customers in Georgia, New Mexico, Nevada and Oregon: a $3 monthly fee for using a debit card. After announcing in March that they would cut their debit rewards program, Wells Fargo’s most recent announcement points to the lingering effects of the Durbin Amendment fallout.
Debit Card Usage Fees Popping Up Everywhere
Monthly debit card usage fees are a new development, but Wells Fargo isn’t alone: In June, SunTrust Financial announced that its Everyday Checking account would come with a $5 monthly debit card fee, and since the end of last year, JP Morgan Chase has been testing a $3 debit card fee on customers in Wisconsin.
A spokesperson from Wells Fargo told CNNMoney, “We regularly review our pricing and take into account the needs of our customers, industry trends, the market competition, and our cost of doing business.” All of that seems true — except, of course, the part about taking into account the needs of customers.
We here at PerkStreet understand that customers not only want to avoid paying fees for debit card usage, you would prefer to get cash back for using a debit card! This no-brainer is at the core of our business.
There Is Another Option
The industry is trending towards new and increased fees, and it seems the competition is responding similarly to cover potential losses. With Durbin passed, the costs of doing business have “increased” as potential profits have decreased. But is a debit card usage fee the answer?
PerkStreet says “No way!”
Our customers also don’t need monthly maintenance fees — so they don’t pay those, either.
Free Checking Has Gone the Way of the Dodo
Free checking has been eliminated from many brick-and-mortar banks. Wells Fargo, SunTrust, and Chase — as well as Bank of America, Citibank, and HSBC North America — have all eliminated personal checking accounts that carried no monthly fee. The cheapest account provided by any of these banks, from HSBC North America, still charges $3 a month.
While these changes — and their effects on customers’ wallets — are obvious, banks are looking for more subtle ways to earn more from their customers. Chase has added $20 in fees by making small adjustments to preexisting penalties and services.
And yet, a spokesman told The New York Times: “We don’t want to raise fees on our customers. But unfortunately, regulation is forcing us to do it.”
That statement is more misleading than you might realize: The cited regulation — the aforementioned Durbin Amendment — regulates interchange fees, not the banks. Nobody is forcing anybody to raise fees. The regulations change the banks’ bottom lines, and their response is increased fees. .
Everyone has someone to please, but unfortunately many of America’s largest financial institutions have refocused from the customer to the investor.
The PerkStreet Way
In 2008, PerkStreet started with a vision to reshape banking, putting the customer first by offering high rewards on a debit card and keeping consumers out of debt. Now, we’re giving our customers over a million dollars a year in cash-back rewards. We’re saving tons of money by NOT building bank branches, and we’re passing that savings on to our valued customers — our “members” as they’ve come to call themselves. This is truly community banking for the online community. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and the phones at all hours of the day, with customer service representatives available 24/7. We believe that a customer-first approach is simply non-negotiable, and we’re determined to provide it without incurring the silly cost of branches.
If up to 2% cash back on all of your non-PIN debit card purchases with no cap sounds better than maintenance and debit card fees, why wait? Make the switch to a PerkStreet Financial checking account today.